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Full text of "Dred; a tale of the great Dismal swamp, together with Anti-slavery tales and papers, and Life in Florida after the war"

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Away to the Dismal Swamp he speeds : 

His path was rugged and sore, 
Through tangled juniper, beds of reeds, 
Through many a fen, where the serpent feeds, 
And man never trod before. 

And when on earth he sunk to sleep, 

If slumber his eyelids knew, 
He lay where the deadly vine doth weep 
Its venomous tears, that nightly steep 

The flesh with blistering dew." 

flfl&e (Sfoersibe Area s, 

Copyright, 1856 and 1884, 

Copyright, 1873, 

Copyright, 1896, 

All rights reserved. 

The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U. S. A. 
Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghtou & Co- 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE . . . ..... vii 








V. HARRY AND HIS WIFE ....... 59 




IX. THE DEATH . . . . . . . . . 120 





XIV. AUNT NESBIT S Loss ..... .193 




XVIII. DRED . 245 

XIX. THE CONSPIRATORS . . . . . . 254 



XXII. THE WORSHIPERS . . . . . . . . 289 




XXVI. MILLY S RETURN . . . . . . . .366 




XXX. TIFF S GARDEN . . . . . . . . .416 

XXXI. THE WARNING . . . 426 





XXXIV. THE CLOUD BURSTS . . . . . . . .452 



The frontispiece (Dred, page 248) and the vignette ("Now, Tiff, can you 
say anything ?" page 118), are from drawings by B. West Clinedinst. 


THE preparation of A Key to Uncle Tom s Cabin was 
also directly a preparation for Mrs. Stowe s second great 
novel based on the moral and social conditions induced by 
African slavery in the United States. Out of the familiarity 
which she acquired with the history and the laws of the 
slave States both through her own investigation and through 
that of her friends, especially her legal friends, sprang al 
most as a matter of necessity the tale of Dred. She has 
herself in her Preface spoken of the use she made of Judge 
Ruffin s decision which she had already included in A Key. 
The basis of the entire story, as is well known, is the in 
surrection led by Nat Turner in eastern Virginia in 1831. 
One of the principal participators in that affair was named 
Dred. Years afterward when bringing out a new edition 
of the novel Mrs. Stowe changed the title to Nina Gordon, 
the name of the principal heroine ; but it bore this title for 
a few years only, the old title being restored finally. 

The story was written in 1855 and the spring of 1856, 
and in his Life of his mother Mr. Stowe gives an interest 
ing incident illustrative of her artistic care in her work. 
On a sultry summer night, he says in effect, there was a 
terrific thunderstorm, which threw the young daughters of 
the house into a panic, and they crept trembling to their 
mother s room, to find her lying quietly in bed, with the 
window-shades drawn, watching with intense interest the 
action of the storm. " I have been writing a description of 
a thunderstorm for my book," she said, " and I am watch 
ing to see if I need to correct it in any particular." The 


description occurs in the chapter entitled Life in the 

It was important for her own interests that Mrs. Stowe 
should secure a copyright for the book in England, where a 
great audience awaited her, and she made a journey abroad 
in the early summer of 1856 with this end particularly in 
view. She had already arranged with Messrs. Sampson 
Low & Co. for its republication, and she wrote for the 
English edition a special preface which states concisely the 
aim she had in view in writing Dred. 

11 The author s object in this book is to show the general 
effect of slavery on society ; the various social disadvantages 
which it brings, even to its most favored advocates ; the 
shiftlessness and misery and backward tendency of all the 
economical arrangements of slave States ; the retrograding 
of good families into poverty ; the deterioration of land ; 
the worse demoralization of all classes, from the aristocratic, 
tyrannical planter to the oppressed and poor white, which 
is the result of the introduction of slave labor. It is also 
an object to display the corruption of Christianity which 
arises from the same source, a corruption that has gradu 
ally lowered the standard of the church, North and South, 
and been productive of more infidelity than the works of 
all the encyclopaedists put together." 

The success of the book was immediate and great both in 
the United States and in England. In the latter country a 
hundred thousand copies \vere sold in a month. It was not 
received with unanimous favor by the critics. The great 
vogue of Uncle Tom s Cabin naturally led to a challenge 
of the author when she appeared a second time, and Mrs. 
Stowe sums up in one of her letters the reception Dred 
had from various organs. "It is very bitterly attacked/ 7 
she writes to her husband, " both from a literary and a 
religious point of view. The Record is down upon it with 
a cartload of solemnity ; the Athenceum with waspish 


spite ; the Edinburgh goes out of its way to say that the 
author knows nothing of the society she describes ; but yet 
it goes everywhere, is read everywhere, and Mr. Low says 
that he puts the hundred and twenty-fifth thousand to 
press confidently. 7 One of the most thorough-going ap 
preciations of the book was from Harriet Martineau, who 
writes : " The genius carries all before it, and drowns every 
thing in glorious pleasure. So marked a work of genius 
claims exemption from every sort of comparison ; but, as 
you ask for my opinion of the book, you may like to know 
that I think it far superior to Uncle Tom. I have no 
doubt that a multitude of people will say it is a falling off, 
because they made up their minds that any new book of 
yours must be inferior to that, and because it is so rare a 
thing for a prodigious fame to be sustained by a second 
book ; but in my own mind I am entirely convinced that 
the second book is by far the best. Such faults as you 
have are in the artistic department, and there is less defect 
in Dred than in Uncle Tom, and the whole material and 
treatment seem to me richer and more substantial. ... I 
see no limit to the good it may do by suddenly splitting 
open Southern life, for everybody to look into. It is pre 
cisely the thing that is most wanted, just as Uncle Tom 
was wanted, three years since, to show what negro slavery 
in your republic was like. It is plantation life particu 
larly, in the present case, that I mean. 7 

The two books Uncle Tom s Cabin and Dred were the 
great contributions which Mrs. Stowe made toward the 
illumination of the Christian world on the subject of slav 
ery. They stood side by side in a momentous period, but 
tressed by the storehouse of facts contained in A Key. 
Her interest in the subject went far back into her childhood, 
as has been shown in the Introduction to Uncle Tom s 
Cabin, and it was of course impossible that she should 


THE writer of this book has chosen, once more, a sub 
ject from the scenes and incidents of the slave-holding 

The reason for such a choice is two-fold. First, in a 
merely artistic point of view, there is no ground, ancient or 
modern, whose vivid lights, gloomy shadows, and grotesque 
groupings, afford to the novelist so wide a scope for the 
exercise of his powers. In the near vicinity of modern 
civilization of the most matter-of-fact kind exist institutions 
which carry us back to the twilight of the feudal ages, with 
all their exciting possibilities of incident. Two nations, 
the types of two exactly opposite styles of existence, are 
here struggling ; and from the intermingling of these two 
a third race has arisen, and the three are interlocked in wild 
and singular relations, that evolve every possible combina 
tion of romance. Hence, if the writer s only object had 
been the production of a work of art, she would have felt 
justified in not turning aside from that mine whose inex 
haustible stores have but begun to be developed. 

But this object, however legitimate, was not the only 
nor the highest one. It is the moral bearings of the sub 
ject involved which have had the chief influence in its 
selection. The issues presented by the great conflict be 
tween liberty and slavery do not grow less important from 
year to year. On the contrary, their interest increases 
with every step in the development of the national career. 
Never has there been a crisis in the history of this nation 
so momentous as the present. If ever a nation was raised 


up by Divine Providence, and led forth upon a conspicuous 
stage, as if for the express purpose of solving a great moral 
problem in the sight of all mankind, it is this nation. God 
in his providence is now asking the American people, Is 
the system of slavery, as set forth in the American slave 
code, right ? Is it so desirable, that you will directly 
establish it over broad regions, where, till now, you have 
solemnly forbidden it to enter ? And this question the 
American people are about to answer. Under such circum 
stances the writer felt that no apology was needed for once 
more endeavoring to do something towards revealing to the 
people the true character of that system. If the people 
are to establish such a system, let them do it with their 
eyes open, with all the dreadful realities before them. 

One liberty has been taken which demands acknowledg 
ment in the outset. The writer has placed in the mouth of 
one of her leading characters a judicial decision of Judge 
Ruffin, of North Carolina, the boldness, clearness, and 
solemn eloquence of which have excited admiration both 
in the Old World and the New. The author having no 
personal acquaintance with that gentleman, the character to 
whom she attributes it is to be considered as created merely 
on a principle of artistic fitness. 

To maintain the unity of the story, some anachronisms 
with regard to the time of the session of courts have been 
allowed ; for works of fiction must sometimes use some 
liberties in the grouping of incidents. But as mere cold 
art, unquickened by sympathy with the spirit of the age, is 
nothing, the author hopes that those who now are called 
to struggle for all that is noble in our laws and institu 
tions may find in this book the response of a sympathizing 





" BILLS, Harry ? Yes. Dear me, where are they ? 
There ! No. Here ? Oh, look ! What do you think 
of this scarf ? Is n t it lovely 1 " 

"Yes, Miss Nina, beautiful but - 

" Oh, those bills ! Yes well, here goes here per 
haps in this box. No that s my opera-hat. By the bye, 
what do you think of that? Isn t that bunch of silver 
wheat lovely 1 Stop a bit you shall see it on me. " 

And, with these words, the slight little figure sprang 
up as if it had wings, and, humming a waltzing- tune, 
skimmed across the room to a looking-glass, and placed the 
jaunty little cap on the gay little head, and then, turning 
a pirouette on one toe, said, "There, now!" 

" There, now ! " Ah, Harry ! ah, mankind generally ! the 
wisest of you have been made fools of by just such dan 
cing, glittering, fluttering little assortments of curls, pen 
dants, streamers, eyes, cheeks, and dimples! The little 
figure, scarce the height of the Venus, rounded as that of 
an infant, was shown to advantage by a coquettish morn 
ing-dress of buff muslin, which fluttered open in front to 
display the embroidered skirt, and trim little mouse of a 

VOL. I. 


slipper. The face was one of those provoking ones which 
set criticism at defiance. The hair, waving, curling, dan 
cing hither and thither, seemed to have a wild, laughing 
grace of its own ; the brown eyes twinkled like the pendants 
of a chandelier; the little, wicked nose, which bore the 
forbidden upward curve, seemed to assert its right to do so 
with a saucy freedom; and the pendants of multiplied bril 
liants that twinkled in her ears, and the nodding wreath of 
silver wheat that set off her opera-hat, seemed alive with 
mischief and motion. 

" Well, what do you think ? " said a lively, imperative 
voice, just the kind of voice that you might have ex 
pected from the figure. 

The young man to whom this question was addressed 
was a well-dressed, gentlemanly person of about thirty- 
five, with dark complexion and hair, and deep blue eyes. 
There was something marked and peculiar in the square, 
high forehead, and the finely formed features, which indi 
cated talent and ability ; and the blue eyes had a depth and 
strength of color that might cause them at first glance to 
appear black. The face, with its strongly marked expres 
sion of honesty and sense, had about it many careworn and 
thoughtful lines. He looked at the little, defiant fay for 
a moment with an air of the most entire deference and 
admiration; then a heavy shadow crossed his face, and he 
answered abstractedly, "Yes, Miss Nina, everything you 
wear becomes pretty and that is perfectly charming. " 

"Isn t it, now, Harry? I thought you would think so. 
You see, it s my own idea. You ought to have seen 
what a thing it was when I first saw it in Mme. La 
Blanche s window. There was a great hot-looking feather 
on it, and two or three horrid bows. I had them out in 
a twinkling, and got this wheat in which shakes so, you 
know. It s perfectly lovely! Well, do you believe, the 
very night I wore it to the opera, I got engaged 1 " 


"Engaged, Miss Nina?" 

"Engaged ! Yes, to be sure ! Why not 1 " 

"It seems to me that s a very serious thing, Miss 

"Serious! ha! ha! ha! " said the little beauty, seating 
herself on one arm of the sofa, and shaking the glittering 
hat back from her eyes. " Well, I fancy it was to him, 
at least. I made him serious, I can tell you ! " 

"But is this true, Miss Nina? Are you really en 

"Yes, to be sure I am to three gentlemen; and going 
to stay so till I find which I like best. Maybe, you 
know, I sha n t like any of them." 

"Engaged to three gentlemen, Miss Nina?" 

" To be sure ! Can t you understand English, Harry ? 
I am now fact. " 

"Miss Nina, is that right? " 

" Eight ? why not ? I don t know which to take I 
positively don t; so I took them all on trial, you know." 

"Pray, Miss Nina, tell us who they are." 

"Well, there s Mr. Carson; he s a rich old bachelor 
horridly polite one of those little, bobbing men, that al 
ways have such shiny dickies and collars, and such bright 
boots, and such tight straps. And he s rich and per 
fectly wild about me. He would n t take no for an an 
swer, you know; so I just said yes, to have a little quiet. 
Besides, he is very convenient about the opera and concerts, 
and such things." 

"Well, and the next?" 

"Well, the next is George Emmons. He s one of your 
pink-and- white men, you know, who look like cream-candy, 
as if they were good to eat. He s a lawyer, of a good 
family, thought a good deal of, and all that. Well, really, 
they say he has talents I m no judge. I know he always 
bores me to death; asking me if I have read this or that 


marking places in books that I never read. He s your 
sentimental sort writes the most romantic notes on pink 
paper, and all that sort of thing." 

"And the third?" 

"Well, you see, I don t like him a bit I m sure I 
don t. He s a hateful creature! He isn t handsome; 
he s proud as Lucifer; and I m sure I don t know how he 
got me to be engaged. It was a kind of an accident. 
He s real good, though too good for me, that s a fact. 
But, then, I m afraid of him a little." 

"And his name?" 

" Well, his name is Clayton, Mr. Edward Clayton, at 
your service. He sone of your high-and-mighty people 
with such deep-set eyes eyes that look as if they were in 
a cave and such black hair ! And his eyes have a desperate 
sort of sad look, sometimes quite Byronic. He s tall, and 
rather loose-jointed has beautiful teeth; his mouth, too, 
is well, when he smiles, sometimes it really is quite 
fascinating; and then he s so different from other gentle 
men ! He s kind but he don t care how he dresses ; and 
wears the most horrid shoes. And, then, he is n t polite 
he won t jump, you know, to pick up your thread or scis 
sors; and sometimes he 11 get into a brown study, and let 
you stand ten minutes before he thinks to give you a 
chair, and all such provoking things. He isn t a bit of 
a lady s man. Well, consequence is, as my lord won t 
court the girls, the girls all court my lord that s the 
way, you know; and they seem to think it s such a 
feather in their cap to get attention from him, because, 
you know, he s horrid sensible. So, you see, that just 
set me out to see what I could do with him. Well, you 
see, I wouldn t court him; and I plagued him, and 
laughed at him, and spited him, and got him gloriously 
wroth; and he said some spiteful things about me, and 
then I said some more about him, and we had a real up- 


and-down quarrel ; and then I took a penitent turn, you 
know, and just went gracefully down into the valley of 
humiliation as we witches can ; and it took wonderfully 
brought my lord on to his knees before he knew what 
he was doing. Well, really, I don t know what was the 
matter, just then, but he spoke so earnest and strong that 
actually he got me to crying hateful creature ! and I 
promised all sorts of things, you know said altogether 
more than will bear thinking of." 

"And are you corresponding with all these lovers, Miss 

"Yes isn t it fun? Their letters, you know, can t 
speak. If they could, when they come rustling together 
in the bag, would n t there be a muss 1 ? " 

"Miss Nina, I think you have given your heart to this 
last one." 

"Oh, nonsense, Harry! Haven t got any heart! 
don t care two pins for any of them! All I want is to 
have a good time. As to love, and all that, I don t be 
lieve I could love any of them; I should be tired to death 
of any of them in six weeks. I never liked anything that 

"Miss Nina, you must excuse me, but I want to ask 
again, is it right to trifle with the feelings of gentlemen in 
this way?" 

"Why not? Isn t all fair in war? Don t they trifle 
with us girls, every chance they get and sit up so pom 
pous in their rooms, and smoke cigars, and talk us over, 
as if they only had to put out their finger and say, * Come 
here, to get any of us? I tell you, it s fun to bring them 
down! Now, there s that horrid George Emmons I 
tell you, if he didn t flirt all winter with Mary Stephens, 
and got everybody to laughing about her ! it was so evi 
dent, you see, that she liked him she couldn t help 
showing it, poor little thing ! and then my lord would 


settle his collar, and say he hadn t quite made up his mind 
to take her, and all that. Well, I have n t made up my 
mind to take him, either and so poor Mary is avenged. 
As to the old bach that smooth-dicky man you see, 
he can t be hurt; for his heart is rubbed as smooth and 
hard as his dicky, with falling in love and out again. 
He s been turned off by three girls, now; and his shoes 
squeak as brisk as ever, and he s just as jolly. You see, 
he didn t use to be so rich. Lately, he s come into a 
splendid property; so, if I don t take him, poor man, there 
are enough that would be glad of him." 

"Well, then, but as to that other one?" 

"What! my lord Lofty? Oh, he wants humbling! it 
would n t hurt him, in the least, to be put down a little. 
He s good, too, and afflictions always improve good people. 
I believe I was made for a means of grace to em all." 

" Miss Nina, what if all three of them should come at 
once or even two of them ? " 

"What a droll idea! Wouldn t it be funny? Just to 
think of it! What a commotion! What a scene! It 
would really be vastly entertaining." 

"Now, Miss Nina, I want to speak as a friend." 

"No, you sha n t! it is just what people say when they 
are going to say something disagreeable. I told Clayton, 
once for all, that I wouldn t have him speak as a friend to 

"Pray, how does he take all this? " 

"Take it! Why, just as he must. He cares a great 
deal more for me than I do for him." Here a slight little 
sigh escaped the fair speaker. "And I think it fun to 
shock him. You know he is one of the fatherly sort, who 
is always advising young girls. Let it be understood that 
his standard of female character is wonderfully high, and 
all that. And then, to think of his being tripped up be 
fore me ! it s too funny ! " The little sprite here took off 


her opera-hat, and commenced waltzing a few steps, and 
stopping mid-whirl, exclaimed : " Oh, do you know, we girls 
have heen trying to learn the cachucha, and I ve got some 
castanets ! Let me see where are they 1 " And with this 
she proceeded to upset the trunk, from which flew a mete 
oric shower of bracelets, billets-doux, French Grammars, 
drawing-pencils, interspersed with confectionery of various 
descriptions, and all the etceteras of a schoolgirl s deposi 
tory. "There, upon my word, there are the bills you 
were asking for. There, take them ! " throwing a pack 
age of papers at the young man. "Take them! Can you 

"Miss Nina, these do not appear to be bills." 

"Oh, bless me! those are love-letters, then. The bills 
are somewhere." And the little hands went pawing among 
the heap making the fanciful collection fly in every direc 
tion over the carpet. " Ah ! I believe now in this bonbon- 
box I did put them. Take care of your head, Harry ! " 
And, with the word, the gilded missile flew from the little 
hand, and opening on the way, showered Harry with a pro 
fusion of crumpled papers. "Now you have got them all, 
except one, that I used for curl-papers the other night. 
Oh, don t look so sober about it! Indeed, I kept the 
pieces here they are. And now don t you say, Harry, 
don t you tell me that I never save my bills. You don t 
know how particular I have been, and what trouble I have 
taken. But, there there s a letter Clayton wrote to me, 
one time when we had a quarrel. Just a specimen of that 
creature ! " 

"Pray tell us about it, Miss Nina," said the young 
man, with his eyes fixed admiringly on the little person, 
while he was smoothing and arranging the crumpled docu 

"Why, you see, it was just this way. You know, 
these men how provoking they are! They ll go and 


read all sorts of books no matter what they read ! and 
then they are so dreadfully particular about us girls. Do 
you know, Harry, this always made me angry ? 

"Well, so, you see, one evening Sophy Elliot quoted 
some poetry from c Don Juan, I never read it, but it 
seems folks call it a bad book, and my lord Clayton im 
mediately fixed his eyes upon her in such an appalling 
way, and says, Have you read "Don Juan," Miss Elliot? 
Then, you know, as girls always do in such cases, she 
blushed and stammered, and said her brother had read some 
extracts from it to her. I was vexed, and said, And, 
pray, what s the harm if she did read it? / mean to read 
it, the very first chance I get! 

"Oh! everybody looked so shocked. Why, dear me! if 
I had said I was going to commit murder, Clayton could 
not have looked more concerned. So he put on that very 
edifying air of his, and said, Miss Nina, I trust, as your 
friend, that you will not read that book. I should lose 
all respect for a lady friend who had read that. 

" Have you read it, Mr. Clayton ? said I. 

" Yes, Miss Nina, said he, quite piously. 

" What makes you read such bad books ? said I, very 

"Then there followed a general fuss and talk; and the 
gentlemen, you know, would not have their wives or their 
sisters read anything naughty, for the world. They 
wanted us all to be like snowflakes, and all that. And 
they were quite high, telling they wouldn t marry this, 
and they would n t marry that, till at last I made them 
a curtsy, and said, Gentlemen, we ladies are infinitely 
obliged to you, but we don t intend to marry people that 
read naughty books, either. Of course you know snow- 
flakes don t like smut! 

"Now, I really didn t mean anything by it, except to 
put down these men, and stand up for my sex. But Clay- 


ton took it in real earnest. He grew red and grew pale, 
and was just as angry as he could be. Well, the quarrel 
raged about three days. Then, do you know, I made him 
give up, and own that he was in the wrong. There, I 
think he was, too, don t you? Don t you think men 
ought to be as good as we are, anyway ? " 

"Miss Nina, I should think you would be afraid to 
express yourself so positively." 

" Oh, if I cared a sou for any of them, perhaps I should. 
But there is n t one of the train that I would give that 
for ! " said she, flirting a shower of peanut-shells into the 

"Yes, but Miss Nina, some time or other you must 
marry somebody. You need somebody to take care of the 
property and place." 

"Oh, that s it, is if? You are tired of keeping ac 
counts, are you, with me to spend the money? Well, I 
don t wonder. How I pity anybody that keeps accounts! 
Isn t it horrid, Harry? Those awful books! Do you 
know that Mme. Ardaine set out that we girls should keep 
account of our expenses? I just tried it two weeks. I 
had a headache and weak eyes, and actually it nearly ruined 
my constitution. Somehow or other, they gave it up, it 
gave them so much trouble. And what s the use? 
When money s spent, it s spent; and keeping accounts 
ever so strict won t get it back. I am very careful about 
my expenses. I never get anything that I can do with 

"For instance," said Harry, rather roguishly, "this bill 
of one hundred dollars for confectionery." 

"Well, you know just how it is, Harry. It s so horrid 
to have to study ! Girls must have something. And you 
know I didn t get it all for myself; I gave it round to all 
the girls. Then they used to ask me for it, and I could n t 
refuse and so it went." 

10 DEED 

"I didn t presume to comment, Miss Nina. What have 
we here ? Mme. Les Cartes, $450 ? " 

" Oh, Harry, that horrid Mme. Les Cartes ! You never 
saw anything like her! Positively, it is not my fault. 
She puts down things I never got: I know she does. 
Nothing in the world but because she is from Paris. 
Everybody is complaining of her. But, then, nobody gets 
anything anywhere else. So what can one do, you know ? 
I assure you, Harry, I am economical." 

The young man, who had been summing up the ac 
counts, now burst out into such a hearty laugh as somewhat 
disconcerted the fair rhetorician. 

She colored to her temples. 

"Harry, now, for shame! Positively, you aren t re 

"Oh, Miss Nina, on my knees I beg pardon! " still con 
tinuing to laugh; "but, indeed, you must excuse me. I 
am positively delighted to hear of your economy, Miss 

"Well, now, Harry, you may look at the bills and see. 
Have n t I ripped up all my silk dresses and had them 
colored over, just to economize 1 ? You can see the dyer s 
bill, there ; and Mine. Carteau told me she always expected 
to turn my dresses twice, at least. Oh, yes, I have been 
very economical." 

"I have heard of old dresses turned costing more than 
new ones, Miss Nina." 

"Oh, nonsense, Harry! What should you know of girls 
things? But I 11 tell you one thing I ve got, Harry, and 
that is a gold watch for you. There it is, " throwing a case 
carelessly towards him; "and there s a silk dress for your 
wife," throwing him a little parcel. "I have sense enough 
to know what a good fellow you are, at any rate. I could n t 
go on as I do, if you didn t rack your poor head fifty ways 
to keep things going straight here at home for me." 


A host of conflicting emotions seemed to cross the young 
man s face, like a shadow of clouds over a field, as he 
silently undid the packages. His hands trembled, his lips 
quivered, but he said nothing. 

"Come, Harry, don t this suit you? I thought it 

"Miss Nina, you are too kind." 

"No, I m not, Harry; I am a selfish little concern, 
that s a fact," said she, turning away, and pretending not 
to see the feeling which agitated him. 

"But, Harry, wasn t it droll, this morning, when all our 
people came up to get their presents! There was Aunt 
Sue, and Aunt Tike, and Aunt Katy, each one got a new 
sack pattern, in which they are going to make up the 
prints I brought them. In about two days our place will 
be flaming with aprons and sacks. And did you see Aunt 
Rose in that pink bonnet, with the flowers? You could 
see every tooth in her head! Of course, now they ll be 
taken with a very pious streak, to go to some camp-meeting 
or other, to show their finery. Why don t you laugh, 
Harry ? " 

"I do, don t I, Miss Nina?" 

"You only laugh on your face. You don t laugh deep 
down. What s the matter? I don t believe it s good for 
you to read and study so much. Papa used to say that he 
did n t think it was good for " 

She stopped, checked by the expression on the face of 
her listener. 

"For servants, Miss Nina, your papa said, I suppose." 

With the quick tact of her sex, Nina perceived that she 
had struck some disagreeable chord in the mind of her 
faithful attendant, and she hastened to change the subject 
in her careless, rattling way. 

"Why, yes, Harry, study is horrid for you, or me either, 
or anybody else, except musty old people, who don t know 

12 DRED 

how to do anything else. Did ever anybody look out of 
doors, such a pleasant day as this, and want to study? 
Think of a bird s studying, now, or a bee! They don t 
study they live. Now, I don t want to study I want 
to live. So now, Harry, if you 11 just get the ponies and 
go in the woods, I want to get some jessamines, and spring 
beauties, and wild honeysuckles, and all the rest of the 
flowers that I used to get before I went to school." 



THE curtain rises on our next scene, and discovers a 
tranquil library, illuminated by the slant rays of the after 
noon s sun. On one side the room opened by long glass 
windows on to a garden, from whence the air came in per 
fumed with the breath of roses and honeysuckles. The floor 
covered with white matting, the couches and sofas robed in 
smooth glazed linen, gave an air of freshness and coolness 
to the apartment. The walls were hung with prints of the 
great masterpieces of European art, while bronzes and 
plaster-casts, distributed with taste and skill, gave evidence 
of artistic culture in the general arrangement. Two young 
men were sitting together near the opened window at a 
small table, which displayed an antique coffee-set of silver, 
and a silver tray of ices and fruits. One of these has 
already been introduced to the notice of our readers, in 
the description of our heroine in the last chapter. 

Edward Clayton, the only son of Judge Clayton, and 
representative of one of the oldest and most distinguished 
families of North Carolina, was in personal appearance 
much what our lively young friend had sketched tall, 
slender, with a sort of loose-jointedness and carelessness of 
dress, which might have produced an impression of clown- 
ishness, had it not been relieved by a refined and intel 
lectual expression on the head and face. The upper part 
of the face gave the impression of thoughtfulness and 
strength, with a shadowing of melancholy earnestness, and 
there was about the eye, in conversation, that occasional 

14 DEED 

gleam of troubled wildness which betrays the hypochon 
driac temperament. The mouth was even feminine in the 
delicacy and beauty of its lines, and the smile which some 
times played around it had a peculiar fascination. It 
seemed to be a smile of but half the man s nature; for it 
never rose as high as the eyes, or seemed to disturb the 
dark stillness of their thoughtfulness. 

The other speaker was in many respects a contrast; and 
we will introduce him to our readers by the name of Frank 
Russel. Furthermore, for their benefit, we will premise 
that he was the only son of a once distinguished and 
wealthy, but now almost decayed family of Virginia. 

It is supposed by many that friendship is best founded 
upon similarity of nature; but observation teaches that it 
is more common by a union of opposites, in which each 
party is attracted by something wanting in itself. In Clay 
ton, the great preponderance of those faculties which draw 
a man inward, and impair the efficiency of the outward 
life, inclined him to overvalue the active and practical fac 
ulties, because he saw them constantly attended with a kind 
of success which he fully appreciated, but was unable to 
attain. Perfect ease of manner, ready presence of mind 
under all social exigencies, adroitness in making the most 
of passing occurrences, are qualities which are seldom the 
gift of sensitive and deeply thoughtful natures, and which 
for this very reason they are often disposed to overvalue. 
Russel was one of those men who have just enough of all 
the higher faculties to appreciate their existence in others, 
and not enough of any one to disturb the perfect avail 
ability of his own mind. Everything in his mental fur 
nishing was always completely under his own control, and 
on hand for use at a moment s notice. From infancy 
he was noted for quick tact and ready reply. At school 
he was the universal factotum, the " good fellow " of the 
ring, heading all the mischief among the boys, and yet 


walking with exemplary gravity on the blind side of the 
master. Many a scrape had he rescued Clayton from, into 
which he had fallen from a more fastidious moral sense, a 
more scrupulous honor, than is for worldly profit either in 
the boy s or man s sphere; and Clayton, superior as he 
was, could not help loving and depending on him. 

The diviner part of man is often shamefaced and self- 
distrustful, ill at home in this world, and standing in awe 
of nothing so much as what is called common sense ; and 
yet common sense very often, by its own keenness, is able 
to see that these unavailable currencies of another s mind 
are of more worth, if the world only knew it, than the 
ready coin of its own; and so the practical and the ideal 
nature are drawn together. 

So Clayton and Russel had been friends from boyhood; 
had roomed together their four years in college; and 
although instruments of a vastly different quality, had 
hitherto played the concerts of life with scarce a discord. 

In person, Russel was of about the medium size, with a 
well-knit, elastic frame, all whose movements were charac 
terized by sprightliness and energy. He had a frank, open 
countenance, clear blue eyes, a high forehead shaded by 
clusters of curling brown hair ; his flexible lips wore a good- 
natured yet half-sarcastic smile. His feelings, though not 
inconveniently deep, were easily touched; he could be 
moved to tears or to smiles, with the varying humor of a 
friend ; but never so far as to lose his equipoise or, as he 
phrased it, forget what he was about. 

But we linger too long in description. We had better 
let the reader hear the dramatis personce and judge for 

"Well, now, Clayton," said Eussel, as he leaned back in 
a stuffed leather chair, with a cigar between his fingers, 
"how considerate of them to go off on that marooning 
party, and leave us to ourselves, here! I say, old boy, 

16 DRED 

how goes the world now ? Keading law, hey ? booked 
to be Judge Clayton the second ! Now, my dear fellow, if 
I had the opportunities that you have only to step into 
my father s shoes I should be a lucky fellow." 

"Well, you are welcome to all my chances," said Clay 
ton, throwing himself on one of the lounges; "for I begin 
to see that I shall make very little of them." 

"Why, what s the matter? Don t you like the 
study ? " 

"The study, perhaps, well enough but not the prac 
tice. Keading the theory is always magnificent and grand. 
Law hath her seat in the bosom of God ; her voice is the 
harmony of the world. You remember we used to de 
claim that. But, then, come to the practice of it, and what 
do you find 1 Are legal examinations anything like search 
ing after truth 1 Does not an advocate commit himself to 
one-sided views of his subject, and habitually ignore all the 
truth on the other side 1 Why, if I practiced law accord 
ing to my conscience, I should be chased out of court in a 

"There you are again, Clayton, with your everlasting 
conscience, which has been my plague ever since you were 
a boy, and I have never been able to convince you what a 
humbug it is! It s what I call a crotchety conscience 
always in the way of your doing anything like anybody 
else. I suppose, then, of course, you won t go into politi 
cal life. Great pity, too. You d make a very imposing 
figure as senator. You have exactly the cut for a conscript 
father one of the old Viri Bomse. " 

"And what do you think the old Viri Romse would do 
in Washington? What sort of a figure do you think 
Eegulus, or Quintus Curtius, or Mucius Scaevola, would 
make there ? " 

"Well, to be sure, the style of political action has al 
tered somewhat since those days. If political duties were 


what they were then, if a gulf would open in Washing 
ton, for example, you would be the fellow to plunge in, 
horse and all, for the good of the republic; or, if any 
thing was to be done by putting your right hand in the fire 
and burning it off or, if there were any Carthaginians 
who would cut off your eyelids, or roll you down hill in a 
barrel of nails, for truth and your country s sake, you 
would be on hand for any such matter. That s the sort of 
foreign embassy that you would be after. All these old- 
fashioned goings on would suit you to a T; but as to figur 
ing in purple and fine linen, in Paris or London, as Ameri 
can minister, you would make a dismal business of it. But 
still, I thought you might practice law in a wholesome, 
sensible way, take fees, make pleas with abundance of 
classical allusions, show off your scholarship, marry a rich 
wife, and make your children princes in the gates all 
without treading on the toes of your too sensitive moral 
what-d -ye-call- ems. But you ve done one thing like 
other folks, at least, if all s true that I ve heard." 

" And what is that, pray ? " 

"What s that? Hear the fellow, now! How innocent 
we are! I suppose you think I haven t heard of your 
campaign in New York carrying off that princess of little 
flirts, Miss Gordon. 7 

Clayton responded to the charge only with a slight shrug 
and a smile, in which not only his lips but his eyes took 
part, while the color mounted to his forehead. 

"Now, do you know, Clayton," continued Russel, "I 
like that. Do you know, I always thought I should detest 
the woman that you should fall in love with 1 It seemed 
to me that such a portentous combination of all the virtues 
as you were planning for would be something like a comet 
an alarming spectacle. Do you remember (I should like 
to know if you do) just what that woman was to be ? 
was to have all the learning of a man, all the graces of a 

VOL. I. 

18 DRED 

woman (I think I have it by heart) ; she was to be practi 
cal, poetical, pious, and everything else that begins with a 
p; she was to be elegant and earnest; take deep and ex 
tensive views of life; and there was to be a certain air 
about her, half Madonna, half Venus, made of every crea 
ture s best. Ah, bless us! what poor creatures we are! 
Here comes along our little coquette, flirting, tossing her 
fan; picks you up like a great solid chip, as you are, and 
throws you into her chip-basket of beaux, and goes on 
dancing and flirting as before. Are n t you ashamed of it, 
now 1 " 

"No. I am really much like the minister in our town, 
where we fitted for college, who married a pretty Polly 
Peters in his sixtieth year, and, when the elders came to 
inquire if she had the requisite qualification? for a pastor s 
lady, he told them that he did n t think she had. But 
the fact is, brethren, said he, though I don t pretend 
she is a saint, she is a very pretty little sinner, and I love 
her. That s just my case." 

"Very sensibly said; and, do you know, as I told you 
before, I m perfectly delighted with it, because it is acting 
like other folks. But then, my dear fellow, do you think 
you have come to anything really solid with this little 
Venus of the sea-foam? Isn t it much the same as being 
engaged to a cloud, or a butterfly 1 One wants a little 
streak of reality about a person that one must take for bet 
ter or for worse. You have a deep nature, Clayton. You 
really want a wife who will have some glimmering percep 
tion of the difference between you and the other things that 
walk and wear coats, and are called men." 

"Well, then, really," said Clayton, rousing himself, and 
speaking with energy, "I 11 tell you just what it is: Nina 
Gordon is a flirt and a coquette a spoiled child, if you 
will. She is not at all the person I ever expected would 
obtain any power over me. She has no culture, no read- 


ing, no habits of reflection; but she has, after all, a certain 
tone and quality to her, a certain timbre, as the French 
say of voices, which suits me. There is about her a 
mixture of energy, individuality, and shrewdness, which 
makes her, all uninformed as she is, more piquant and 
attractive than any woman I ever fell in with. She never 
reads; it is almost impossible to get her to read; but, if 
you can catch her ear for five minutes, her literary judg 
ments have a peculiar freshness and truth. And so with 
her judgment on all other subjects, if you can stop her 
long enough to give you an opinion. As to heart, I think 
she has yet a wholly unawakened nature. She has lived 
only in the world of sensation, and that is so abundant and 
so buoyant in her that the deeper part still sleeps. It is 
only two or three times that I have seen a flash of this 
under nature look from her eyes, and color her voice and 
intonation. And I believe I m quite sure that I am 
the only person in the world that ever touched it at all. 
I m not at all sure that she loves me now; but I m almost 
equally sure that she will." 

"They say," said Russel carelessly, "that she is gener 
ally engaged to two or three at a time." 

"That may be also," said Clayton indolently. "I 
rather suspect it to be the case now, but it gives me no 
concern. I ve seen all the men by whom she is sur 
rounded, and I know perfectly well there s not one of them 
that she cares a rush for." 

"Well, but, my dear fellow, how can your extra fas 
tidious moral notions stand the idea of her practicing this 
system of deception ? " 

"Why, of course, it isn t a thing to my taste; but then, 
like the old parson, if I love the little sinner, what am 
I to do? I suppose you think it a lover s paradox; yet 
I assure you, though she deceives, she is not deceitful; 
though she acts selfishly, she is not selfish. The fact is, 

20 DEED 

the child has grown up, motherless and an heiress, among 
servants. She has, I believe, a sort of an aunt, or some such 
relative, who nominally represents the head of the family 
to the eye of the world. But I fancy little madam has had 
full sway. Then she has been to a fashionable New York 
boarding-school, and that has developed the talent of shirk 
ing lessons, and evading rules, with a taste for sidewalk 
flirtation. These are all the attainments that I ever heard of 
being got at a fashionable boarding-school, unless it be a 
hatred of books, and a general dread of literary culture." 

"And her estates are " 

"Nothing very considerable. Managed nominally by an 
old uncle of hers; really by a very clever quadroon ser 
vant, who was left her by her father, and who has received 
an education, and has talents very superior to what are 
common to those in his class. He is, in fact, the overseer 
of her plantation, and I believe the most loyal, devoted 
creature breathing." 

"Clayton," said his companion, "this affair might not 
be much to one who takes the world as I do, but for you it 
may be a little too serious. Don t get in beyond your 

"You are too late, Russel, for that I am in." 

"Well, then, good luck to you, my dear fellow! And 
now, as we are about it, I may as well tell you that I m 
in for it, too. I suppose you have heard of Miss Benoir, 
of Baltimore. Well, she is my fate." 

" And are you really engaged 1 " 

"All signed and sealed, and to be delivered next Christ 
mas. " 

"Let s hear about her." 

"Well, she is of a good height (I always said I should n t 
marry a short woman), not handsome, but reasonably 
well looking very fine manners knows the world 
plays and sings handsomely has a snug little fortune. 


Now, you know I never held to marrying for money and 
nothing else; but then, as I m situated, I could not have 
fallen in love without that requisite. Some people call 
this heartless. I don t think it is. If I had met Mary 
Benoir, and had known that she hadn t anything, why, I 
should have known that it would n t do for me at all to 
cultivate any particular intimacy; but, knowing she had 
fortune, I looked a little further, and found she had other 
things too. Now, if that s marrying for money, so be it. 
Yours, Clayton, is a genuine case of falling in love. But, 
as for me, I walked in with my eyes wide open." 

"And what are you going to do with yourself in the 
world, Kussel?" 

"I must get into practice, and get some foothold there, 
you know; and then, hey for Washington! I m to be 
President, like every other adventurer in these United 
States. Why not I as well as another man ? " 

"I don t know, certainly," said Clayton, "if you want 
it, and are willing to work hard enough and long enough, 
and pay all the price. I would as soon spend my life 
walking the drawn sword which they say is the bridge to 
Mahomet s paradise." 

"Ah! ah! I fancy I see you doing it! What a figure 
you d make, my dear fellow, balancing and posturing on 
the sword-blade, and making horrid wry faces! Yet I 
know you d be as comfortable there as you would in politi 
cal life. And yet, after all, you are greatly superior to 
me in every respect. It would be a thousand pities if such 
a man as you couldn t have the management of things. 
But our national ship has to be navigated by second-rate 
fellows, Jerry-go-nimbles, like me, simply because we are 
good in dodging and turning. But that s the way. 
Sharp s the word, and the sharpest wins." 

"For my part," said Clayton, "I shall never be what the 
world calls a successful man. There seems to be one in- 

22 DEED 

scription written over every passage of success in life, as 
far as I ve seen, What shall it profit a man if he gain 
the whole world, and lose his own soul ? " 

"I don t understand you, Clayton." 

"Why, it seems to me just this. As matters are going 
on now in our country, I must either lower my standard 
of right and honor, and sear my soul in all its nobler sen 
sibilities, or I must be what the world calls an unsuccessful 
man. There is no path in life, that I know of, where 
huinbuggery and fraud and deceit are not essential to suc 
cess, none where a man can make the purity of his 
moral nature the first object. I see Satan standing in 
every avenue, saying, All these things will I give thee, if 
thou wilt fall down and worship me. 

"Why don t you take to the ministry, then, Clayton, 
at once, and put up a pulpit- cushion and big Bible between 
you and the fiery darts of the devil ? " 

"I m afraid I should meet him there, too. I could not 
gain a right to speak in any pulpit without some profes 
sion or pledge to speak this or that, that would be a snare 
to my conscience by and by. At the door of every pulpit 
I must swear always to find truth in a certain formula; 
and living, prosperity, success, reputation, will all be 
pledged on my finding it there. I tell you I should, if I 
followed my own conscience, preach myself out of pulpits 
quicker than I should plead out at the bar." 

"Lord help you, Clayton! What will you do? Will 
you settle down on your plantation, and raise cotton and 
sell niggers? I m expecting to hear, every minute, that 
you ve subscribed for the Liberator, and are going to 
turn Abolitionist." 

"I do mean to settle down on my plantation, but not to 
raise cotton or negroes as a chief end of man. I do take 
the Liberator, because I m a free man, and have a right 
to take what I have a mind to. I don t agree with Garri- 


son, because I think I know more about the matter, where 
I stand, than he does, or can, where he stands. But it s 
his right, as an honest man, to say what he thinks; and 
I should use it in his place. If I saw things as he does, 
I should be an Abolitionist. But I don t." 

"That s a mercy, at least," said Russel, "to a man with 
your taste for martyrdom. But what are you going to 
do ? " 

"What any Christian man should do who finds four 
hundred odd of his fellow men and women placed in a state 
of absolute dependence on him. I m going to educate 
and fit them for freedom. There isn t a sublimer power 
on earth than God has given to us, masters. The law 
gives us absolute and unlimited control. A plantation 
such as a plantation might be would be a light to lighten 
the Gentiles. There is a wonderful and beautiful de 
velopment locked up in this Ethiopian race, and it is worth 
being a life- object to unlock it. The raising of cotton is 
to be the least of the thing. I regard my plantation as a 
sphere for raising men and women, and demonstrating the 
capabilities of a race." 

"Selah!" said Eussel. 

Clayton looked angry. 

"I beg your pardon, Clayton. This is all superb, sub 
lime! There is just one objection to it it is wholly 
impossible. " 

"Every good and great thing has been called impossible 
before it is done." 

"Well, let me tell you, Clayton, just how it will be. 
You will be a mark for arrows, both sides. You will 
offend all your neighbors by doing better than they do. 
You will bring your negroes up to a point in which they 
will meet the current of the whole community against 
them, and meanwhile you will get no credit with the 
Abolitionists. They will call you a cut-throat, pirate, 

24 DEED 

sheep-stealer, and all the rest of their elegant little list of 
embellishments, all the same. You 11 get a state of things 
that nobody can manage but yourself, and you by the 
hardest; and then you 11 die, and it 11 all run to the devil 
faster than you run it up. Now, if you would do the 
thing by halves, it wouldn t be so bad; but I know you 
of old. You won t be satisfied with teaching a catechism 
and a few hymns, parrot-wise, which I think is a respecta 
ble religious amusement for our women. You 11 teach em 
all to read and write and think and speak. I shouldn t 
wonder to hear of an importation of black-boards and spell 
ing-books. You 11 want a lyceum and debating society. 
Pray, what does sister Anne say to all this? Anne is a 
sensible girl now, but I 11 warrant you ve got her to go in 
for it." 

"Anne is as much interested as I, but her practical tact 
is greater than mine, and she is of use in detecting diffi 
culties that I do not see. I have an excellent man, who 
enters fully into my views, who takes charge of the busi 
ness interests of the plantation, instead of one of these 
scoundrel overseers. There is to be a graduated system of 
work and wages introduced a system that shall teach the 
nature and rights of property and train to habits of indus 
try and frugality, by making every man s acquirements 
equal to his industry and good conduct. 7 

"And what sort of a support do you expect to make out 
of all this ? Are you going to live for them, or they for 
you 1 " 

"I shall set them the example of living for them, and 
trust to awaken the good that is in them, in return. The 
strong ought to live for the weak the cultivated for the 
ignorant. " 

"Well, Clayton, the Lord help you! I m in earnest 
now fact! Though I know you won t do it, yet I wish 
you could. It s a pity, Clayton, you were born in this 


world. It is n t you, but our planet and planetary ways 
that are in fault. Your mind is a splendid storehouse 
gold and gems of Ophir but they are all up in the fifth 
story, and no staircase to get em down into common life. 
Now I ve just enough appreciation of the sort of thing 
that s in you, not to laugh at you. Nine out of ten 
would. To tell you the truth, if I were already set up in 
life, and had as definite a position as you have, family, 
friends, influence, and means, why, perhaps I might 
afford to cultivate this style of thing. But I tell you what 
it is, Clayton, such a conscience as yours is cursedly expen 
sive to keep. It s like a carriage a fellow mustn t set 
it up unless he can afford it. It s one of the luxuries." 

"It s a necessary of life with me," said Clayton dryly. 

"Well, that s your nature. I can t afford it. I ve got 
my way to make. I must succeed, and with your ultra 
notions I couldn t succeed. So there it is. After all, I 
can be as religious as dozens of your most respectable men, 
who have taken their seats in the night train for Paradise 
and keep the daylight for their own business." 

"I dare say you can." 

"Yes, and I shall get all I aim at; and you, Clayton, 
will be always an unhappy, dissatisfied aspirant after some 
thing too high for mortality. There s just the difference 
between us." 

The conversation was here interrupted by the return of 
the family party. 



THE family party, which was now ushered in, consisted 
of Clayton s father, mother, and sister. Judge Clayton 
was a tall, dignified, elderly personage, in whom one recog 
nized, at a glance, the gentleman of the old school. His 
hair, snowy white, formed a singular contrast with the 
brightness of his blue eyes, whose peculiar acuteness of 
glance might remind one of a falcon. There was something 
stately in the position of the head and the carriage of the 
figure, and a punctilious exactness in the whole air and 
manner, that gave one a slight impression of sternness. 
The clear, sharp blue of his eye seemed to be that of a calm 
and decided intellect, of a logical severity of thought; and 
contrasted with the silvery hair with that same expression 
of cold beauty that is given by the contrast of snow moun 
tains cutting into the keen, metallic blue of an Alpine sky. 
One should apprehend much to fear from such a man s 
reason little to hope from any outburst of his emotional 
nature. Yet, as a man, perhaps injustice was done to 
Judge Clayton by this first impression; for there was, deep 
beneath this external coldness, a severely repressed nature, 
of the most fiery and passionate vehemence. His family 
affections were strong and tender, seldom manifested in 
words, but always by the most exact appreciation and 
consideration for all who came within his sphere. He was 
strictly and impartially just in all the little minutiae of 
social and domestic life, never hesitating to speak a truth 
or acknowledge an error. 


Mrs. Clayton was a high-bred, elderly lady, whose well- 
preserved delicacy of complexion, brilliant dark eyes, and 
fine figure spoke of a youth of beauty. Of a nature imagi 
native, impulsive, and ardent, inclining constantly to gen 
erous extremes, she had thrown herself with passionate 
devotion round her clear-judging husband, as the Alpine 
rose girdles with beauty the breast of the bright, pure 

Between Clayton and his father there existed an affection 
deep and entire; yet as the son developed to manhood, it 
became increasingly evident that they could never move 
harmoniously in the same practical orbit. The nature of 
the son was so veined and crossed with that of the mother, 
that the father, in attempting the age-long and often-tried 
experiment of making his child an exact copy of himself, 
found himself extremely puzzled and confused in the opera 
tion. Clayton was ideal to an excess; ideality colored 
every faculty of his mind, and swayed all his reasonings, 
as an unseen magnet will swerve the needle. Ideality per 
vaded his conscientiousness, urging him always to rise above 
the commonly received and so-called practical in morals. 
Hence, while he worshiped the theory of law, the practice 
filled him with disgust; and his father was obliged con 
stantly to point out deficiencies in reasonings, founded more 
on a keen appreciation of what things ought to be, than on 
a practical regard to what they are. Nevertheless, Clay 
ton partook enough of his father s strong and steady nature 
to be his mother s idol, who, perhaps, loved this second 
rendering of the parental nature with even more doting 
tenderness than the first. 

Anne Clayton was the eldest of three sisters, and the 
special companion and confidante of the brother; and as she 
stands there untying her bonnet-strings, we must also 
present her to the reader. She is a little above the me 
dium height, with that breadth and full development of 

28 DEED 

chest which one admires in English women. She carries 
her well-formed head on her graceful shoulders with a posi 
tive, decided air, only a little on this side of haughtiness. 
Her clear brown complexion reddens into a fine glow in 
the cheek, giving one the impression of sound, perfect 
health. The positive outline of the small aquiline nose; 
the large, frank, well-formed mouth, with its clear rows of 
shining teeth; the brown eyes, which have caught some 
thing of the falcon keenness of the father, are points in the 
picture by no means to be overlooked. Taking her air 
altogether, there was an honest frankness about her which 
encouraged conversation, and put one instantly at ease. 
Yet no man in his senses could ever venture to take the 
slightest liberty with Anne Clayton. With all her frank 
ness, there was ever in her manner a perfectly defined 
"thus far shalt thou come, and no further." Beaux, suit 
ors, lovers in abundance, had stood, knelt, and sighed pro 
testing, at her shrine. Yet Anne Clayton was twenty- 
seven, and unmarried. Everybody wondered why ; and as 
to that, we can only wonder with the rest. Her own ac 
count of the matter was simple and positive. She did not 
wish to marry was happy enough without. 

The intimacy between the brother and sister had been 
more than usually strong, notwithstanding marked differ 
ences of character; for Anne had not a particle of ideality. 
Sense she had, shrewdness, and a pleasant dash of humor 
withal; but she was eminently what people call a practical 
girl. She admired highly the contrary of all this in her 
brother ; she delighted in the poetic-heroic element in him, 
for much the same reason that young ladies used to admire 
Thaddeus of Warsaw and William Wallace because it 
was something quite out of her line. In the whole world 
of ideas she had an almost idolatrous veneration for her 
brother; in the sphere of practical operations she felt free 
to assert, with a certain good-natured positiveness, her 


own superiority. There was no one in the world, perhaps, 
of whose judgment in this respect Clayton stood more in 

At the present juncture of affairs Clayton felt himself 
rather awkwardly embarrassed in communicating to her an 
event which she would immediately feel she had a right 
to know before. A sister of Anne Clayton s positive char 
acter does not usually live twenty-seven years in constant 
intimacy with a brother like Clayton, without such an at 
tachment as renders the first announcement of a contem 
plated marriage somewhat painful. Why, then, had Clay 
ton, who always unreservedly corresponded with his sister, 
not kept her apprised of his gradual attachment to Nina? 
The secret of the matter was, that he had had an instinc 
tive consciousness that he could not present Nina to the 
practical, clear- judging mind of his sister as she appeared 
through the mist and spray of his imaginative nature. 
The hard facts of her case would be sure to tell against her 
in any communication he might make; and sensitive peo 
ple never like the fatigue of justifying their instincts. 
Nothing, in fact, is less capable of being justified by tech 
nical reasons than those fine insights into character where 
upon affection is built. We have all had experience of 
preferences which would not follow the most exactly as 
certained catalogue of virtues, and would be made captive 
where there was very little to be said in justification of 
the captivity. 

But, meanwhile, rumor, always busy, had not failed to 
convey to Anne Clayton some suspicions of what was pass 
ing; and though her delicacy and pride forbade any allu 
sion to it, she keenly felt the want of confidence, and of 
course was not any more charitably disposed towards the 
little rival for this reason. But now the matter had at 
tained such a shape in Clayton s mind that he felt the 
necessity of apprising his family and friends. With his 

30 DEED 

mother the task was made easier by the abundant hopeful 
ness of her nature, which enabled her in a moment to throw 
herself into the sympathies of those she loved. To her 
had been deputed the office of first breaking the tidings to 
Anne, and she had accomplished it during the pleasure- 
party of the morning. 

The first glance that passed between Clayton and his 
sister, as she entered the room,- on her return from the 
party, showed him that she was discomposed and unhappy. 
She did not remain long in the apartment, or seem dis 
posed to join in conversation; and after a few abstracted 
moments, she passed through the open door into the gar 
den, and began to busy herself apparently among her 
plants. Clayton followed her. He came and stood 
silently beside her for some time, watching her as she 
picked the dead leaves off her geranium. 

"Mother has told you," he said, at length. 

"Yes," said Anne. 

There was a long pause, and Anne picked off dry leaves 
and green promiscuously, threatening to demolish the 

"Anne," said Clayton, "how I wish you could see 

"I ve heard of her," replied Anne dryly, "through the 
Livingstons. " 

"And what have you heard?" said Clayton eagerly. 

"Not such things as I could wish, Edward; riot such as 
I expected to hear of the lady that you would choose." 

"And, pray, what have you heard? Out with it," said 
Clayton, "let s know what the world says of her." 

"Well, the world says," said Anne, "that she is a co 
quette, a flirt, a jilt. From all I ve heard, I should think 
she must be an unprincipled girl." 

"That is hard language, Anne." 

"Truth is generally hard," replied Anne. 


"My dear sister," said Clayton, taking her hand, and 
seating her on the seat in the garden, "have you lost all 
faith in me 1 " 

"I think it would be nearer truth," replied Anne, "to 
say that you had lost all faith in me. Why am I the last 
one to know all this? Why am I to hear it first from 
reports, and every way but from you? Would I have 
treated you so ? Did I ever have anything that I did not 
tell you? Down to my very soul I ve always told you 
everything ! " 

" This is true, I own, dear Anne ; but what if you had 
loved some man that you felt sure I should not like? 
Now, you are a positive person, Anne, and this might hap 
pen. Would you want to tell me at once? Would you 
not, perhaps, wait, and hesitate, and put off, for one 
reason or another, from day to day, and find it grow more 
and more difficult the longer you waited ? " 

"I can t tell," said Anne bitterly. "I never did love 
any one better than you, that s the trouble." 

"Neither do I love anybody better than you, Anne. 
The love I have for you is a whole, perfect thing, just as 
it was. See if you do not find me every way as devoted. 
My heart was only opened to take in another love, an 
other wholly different; and which, because it is so wholly 
different, never can infringe on the love I bear to you. 
And, Anne, my dear sister, if you could love her as a part 
of me " - 

"I wish I could," said Anne, somewhat softened; "but 
what I ve heard has been so unfavorable! She is not, in 
the least, the person I should have expected you to fancy, 
Edward. Of all things I despise a woman who trifles with 
the affections of gentlemen." 

"Well, but, my dear, Nina isn t a woman; she is a 
child a gay, beautiful, unformed child; and I m sure 
you may apply to her what Pope says : 

32 DEED 

If to her share some female errors fall, 
Look in her face, and you forget them all. " 

"Yes, indeed," said Anne, "I believe all you men are 
alike a pretty face bewitches any of you. I thought 
you were an exception, Edward; but there you are." 

"But, Anne, is this the way to encourage my confi 
dence? Suppose I am bewitched and enchanted, you can 
not disentangle me without indulgence. Say what you 
will about it, the fact is just this it is my fate to love 
this child. I ve tried to love many women before. I have 
seen many whom I knew no sort of reason why I should n t 
love, handsomer far, more cultivated, more accomplished, 
and yet I ve seen them without a movement or a flut 
ter of the pulse. But this girl has awakened all there 
is to me. I do not see in her what the world sees. I see 
the ideal image of what she can be, what I m sure she will 
be, when her nature is fully awakened and developed." 

"Just there, Edward just that," said Anne. "You 
never see anything ; that is, you see a glorified image a 
something that might, could, would, or should be that is 
your difficulty. You glorify an ordinary boarding-school 
coquette into something symbolic, sublime; you clothe her 
with all your own ideas, and then fall down to worship her. " 

"Well, my dear Anne, suppose it were so, what then? 
I am, as you say, ideal, you, real. Well, be it so; I 
must act according to what is in me. I have a right to 
my nature, you to yours. But it is not every person 
whom I can idealize ; and I suspect this is the great reason 
why I never could love some very fine women with whom 
I have associated on intimate terms; they had no capacity 
of being idealized; they could receive no color from my 
fancy ; they wanted, in short, just what Nina has. She is 
just like one of those little whisking, chattering cascades 
in the White Mountains, and the atmosphere round her is 
favorable to rainbows." 


"And you always see her through them." 

"Even so, sister; but some people I cannot. Why 
should you find fault with me ? It s a pleasant thing to 
look through a rainbow. Why should you seek to disen 
chant, if I can be enchanted 1 " 

"Why," replied Anne, "you remember the man who 
took his pay of the fairies in gold and diamonds, and, 
after he had passed a certain brook, found it all turned to 
slate-stones. Now, marriage is like that brook; many a 
poor fellow finds his diamonds turned to slate on the other 
side; and this is why I put in my plain, hard common 
sense against your visions. I see the plain facts about 
this young girl; that she is an acknowledged flirt, a noted 
coquette and jilt; and a woman who is so is necessarily 
heartless; and you are too good, Edward, too noble, I 
have loved you too long, to be willing to give you up to 
suck a woman." 

"There, my dear Anne, there are at least a dozen points 
in that sentence to which I don t agree. In the first place, 
as to coquetry, it is n t the unpardonable sin in my eyes 
that is, under some circumstances." 

"That is, you mean, when Nina Gordon is the 
coquette ? " 

"No, I don t mean that. But the fact is, Anne, there 
is so little of true sincerity, so little real benevolence and 
charity, in the common intercourse of young gentlemen and 
ladies in society, and our sex, who ought to set the ex 
ample, are so selfish and unprincipled in their ways of 
treating women, that I do not wonder that, now and then, 
a lively girl, who has the power, avenges her sex by play 
ing off our weak points. Now, I don t think Nina capable 
of trifling with a real, deep, unselfish attachment a love 
which sought her good, and was willing to sacrifice itself 
for her; but I don t believe any such has ever been put at 
her disposal. There s a great difference between a man s 

VOL. I. 

34 DRED 

wanting a woman to love him and loving her. Wanting 
to appropriate a woman as a wife does not, of course, im 
ply that a man loves her, or that he is capable of loving 
anything. All these things girls feel, because their in 
stincts are quick; and they are often accused of trifling 
with a man s heart when they only see through him, and 
know he has n t any. Besides, love of power has always 
been considered a respectable sin in us men; and why 
should we denounce a woman for loving her kind of 
power ? " 

"Oh, well, Edward, there isn t anything in the world 
that you cannot theorize into beauty. But I don t like 
coquettes, for all that; and then, I m told Nina Gordon 
is so very odd, and says and does such very extraordinary 
things sometimes." 

"Well, perhaps that charms me the more. In this con 
ventional world, where women are all rubbed into one uni 
form surface, like coins in one s pocket, it s a pleasure 
now and then to find one who can t be made to do and 
think like all the rest. You have a little dash of this 
merit yourself, Anne ; but you must consider that you have 
been brought up with mamma, under her influence, trained 
and guided every hour, even more than you knew. Nina 
has grown up an heiress among servants, a boarding-school 
girl in New York; and, furthermore, you are twenty-seven 
and she is eighteen, and a great deal may be learned be 
tween eighteen and twenty-seven." 

"But, brother, you remember Miss Hannah More says, 
or some of those good women, I forget who: at any 
rate it s a sensible saying, * that a man who chooses his 
wife as he would a picture in a public exhibition-room 
should remember that there is this difference, that the pic 
ture cannot go back to the exhibition, but the woman may. 
You have chosen her from seeing her brilliancy in so 
ciety ; but, after all, can you make her happy in the dull 


routine of a commonplace life ? Is she not one of the sort 
that must have a constant round of company and excite 
ment to keep her in spirits 1 " 

"I think not," said Clayton. "I think she is one of 
those whose vitality is in herself, and one whose freshness 
and originality will keep life anywhere from being com 
monplace; and that, living with us, she will sympathize, 
naturally, in all our pursuits." 

"Well, now, don t flatter yourself, brother, that you can 
make this girl over, and bring her to any of your stan 
dards. " 

"Who I? Did you think I meditated such an imper 
tinence? The last thing I should try, to marry a wife to 
educate her! It s generally one of the most selfish tricks 
of our sex. Besides, I don t want a wife who will be a 
mere mirror of my opinions and sentiments. I don t want 
an innocent sheet of blotting-paper, meekly sucking up all 
I say, and giving a little fainter impression of my ideas. 
I want a wife for an alterative; all the vivacities of life 
lie in differences." 

"Why, surely," said Anne, "one wants one s friends 
to be congenial, I should think." 

"So we do; and there is nothing in the world so con 
genial as differences. To be sure, the differences must be 
harmonious. In music, now, for instance, one doesn t 
want a repetition of the same notes, but differing notes that 
chord. Nay, even discords are indispensable to complete 
harmony. Now, Nina has just that difference from me 
which chords with me ; and all our little quarrels for 
we have had a good many, and I dare say shall have more 
are only a sort of chromatic passages, discords of the 
seventh, leading into harmony. My life is inward, theo 
rizing, self-absorbed. I am hypochondriac often mor 
bid. The vivacity and acuteness of her outer life make 
her just what I need. She wakens, she rouses, and keeps 


me in play ; and her quick instincts are often more than a 
match for my reason. I reverence the child, then, in 
spite of her faults. She has taught me many things." 

"Well," said Anne, laughing, "I give you up, if it 
comes to that. If you come to talk about reverencing 
Nina Gordon, I see it s all over with you, Edward, and 
I 11 be good natured, and make the best of it. I hope it 
may all be true that you think, and a great deal more. 
At all events, no effort of mine shall be wanting to make 
you as happy in your new relation as you ought to be." 

"There, now, that s Anne Clayton! It s just like you, 
sister, and I couldn t say anything better than that. You 
have unburdened your conscience, you have done all you 
can for me, and now very properly yield to the inevitable. 
Nina, I know, will love you; and if you never try to 
advise her and influence her, you will influence her very 
much. Good people are a long while learning that, Anne. 
They think to do good to others by interfering and ad 
vising. They don t know that all they have to do is to 
live. When I first knew Nina, I was silly enough to try 
my hand that way myself; but I ve learned better. 
Now, when Nina comes to us, all that you and mamma 
have got to do is just to be kind to her, and live as you 
always have lived ; and whatever needs to be altered in her, 
she will alter herself. " 

"Well," said Anne, "I wish, as it is so, that I could see 

" Suppose you write a few lines to her in this letter that 
I am going to write; and then that will lead in due time 
to a visit." 

"Anything in the world, Edward, that you say." 



A WEEK or two had passed over the head of Nina Gor 
don since she was first introduced to our readers, and dur 
ing this time she had become familiar with the details of 
her home life. Nominally she stood at the head of her 
plantation, as mistress and queen in her own right of all, 
both in doors and out; but, really, she found herself, by 
her own youth and inexperience, her ignorance of practical 
details, very much in the hands of those she professed to 

The duties of a southern housekeeper, on a plantation, 
are onerous beyond any amount of northern conception. 
Every article wanted for daily consumption must be kept 
under lock and key, and doled out as need arises. For 
the most part, the servants are only grown-up children, 
without consideration, forethought, or self-control, quarrel 
ing with each other, and divided into parties and factions, 
hopeless of any reasonable control. Every article of 
wear, for some hundreds of people, must be thought of, 
purchased, cut and made, under the direction of the mis 
tress; and add to this the care of young children, whose 
childish mothers are totally unfit to govern or care for 
them, and we have some slight idea of what devolves on 
southern housekeepers. 

Our reader has seen what Nina was on her return from 
New York, and can easily imagine that she had no idea of 
embracing, in good earnest, the hard duties of such a life. 

In fact, since the death of Nina s mother, the situation 

38 DEED 

of the mistress of the family had been only nominally filled 
by her aunt, Mrs. Nesbit. The real housekeeper, in fact, 
was an old mulatto woman, named Katy, who had been 
trained by Nina s mother. Notwithstanding the general 
inefficiency and childishness of negro servants, there often 
are to be found among them those of great practical ability. 
Whenever owners, through necessity or from tact, select 
such servants, and subject them to the kind of training and 
responsibility which belong to a state of freedom, the same 
qualities are developed which exist in free society. Nina s 
mother, being always in delicate health, had, from neces 
sity, been obliged to commit much responsibility to "Aunt 
Katy," as she was called; and she had grown up under 
the discipline into a very efficient housekeeper. With her 
tall red turban, her jingling bunch of keys, and an abun 
dant sense of the importance of her office, she was a digni 
tary not lightly to be disregarded. 

It is true that she professed the utmost deference for her 
young mistress, and very generally passed the compliment 
of inquiring what she would have done; but it was pretty 
generally understood that her assent to Aunt Katy s pro 
positions was considered as much a matter of course as the 
queen s to a ministerial recommendation. Indeed, had 
Nina chosen to demur, her prime minister had the power, 
without departing in the slightest degree from a respectful 
bearing, to involve her in labyrinths of perplexity without 
end. And as Nina hated trouble, and wanted, above all 
things, to have her time to herself for her own amusement, 
she wisely concluded not to interfere with Aunt Katy s 
reign, and to get by persuasion and coaxing what the old 
body would have been far too consequential and opinion 
ated to give to authority. 

In like manner, at the head of all outdoor affairs was 
the young quadroon, Harry, whom we introduced in the 
first chapter. In order to come fully at the relation in 


which he stood to the estate, we must, after the fashion of 
historians generally, go back a hundred years or so, in 
order to give our readers a fair start. Behold us, there 
fore, assuming historic dignity, as follows. 

Among the first emigrants to Virginia, in its colonial 
days, was one Thomas Gordon, Knight, a distant offshoot 
of the noble Gordon family, renowned in Scottish history. 
Being a gentleman of some considerable energy, and im 
patient of the narrow limits of the Old World, where he 
found little opportunity to obtain that wealth which was 
necessary to meet the demands of his family pride, he struck 
off for himself into Virginia. Naturally of an adventurous 
turn, he was one of the first to propose the enterprise which 
afterwards resulted in a settlement on the banks of the 
Chowan River, in North Carolina. Here he took up for 
himself a large tract of the finest alluvial land, and set 
himself to the business of planting, with the energy and 
skill characteristic of his nation; and as the soil was new 
and fertile, he soon received a very munificent return for his 
enterprise. Inspired with remembrances of old ancestral 
renown, the Gordon family transmitted in their descent all 
the traditions, feelings, and habits which were the growth 
of the aristocratic caste from which they sprung. The 
name of Canema, given to the estate, came from an Indian 
guide and interpreter, who accompanied the first Colonel 
Gordon as confidential servant. The estate, being entailed, 
passed down through the colonial times unbroken in the 
family, whose wealth, for some years, seemed to increase 
with every generation. 

The family mansion was one of those fond reproductions 
of the architectural style of the landed gentry in England, 
in which, as far as their means could compass it, the plant 
ers were fond of indulging. Carpenters and carvers had 
been brought over, at great expense, from the old country, 
to give the fruits of their skill in its erection; and it was a 

40 DEED 

fancy of the ancestor who built it to display, in its wood 
work, that exuberance of new and rare woods with which 
the American continent was supposed to abound. He had 
made an adventurous voyage into South America, and 
brought from thence specimens of those materials more 
brilliant than rosewood, and hard as ebony, which grow so 
profusely on the banks of the Amazon that the natives 
use them for timber. The floor of the central hall of the 
house was a curiously inlaid parquet of these brilliant ma 
terials, arranged in fine block-work, highly polished. 

The outside of the house was built in the old Virginian 
fashion, with two tiers of balconies running completely 
round, as being much better suited to the American climate 
than any of European mode. The inside, however, was 
decorated with sculpture and carvings, copied, many of 
them, from ancestral residences in Scotland, giving to the 
mansion an air of premature antiquity. 

Here, for two or three generations, the Gordon family had 
lived in opulence. During the time, however, of Nina s 
father, and still more after his death, there appeared evi 
dently on the place signs of that gradual decay which has 
conducted many an old Virginian family to poverty and 
ruin. Slave labor, of all others the most worthless and 
profitless, had exhausted the first vigor of the soil, and the 
proprietors gradually degenerated from those habits of 
energy which were called forth by the necessities of the first 
settlers, and everything proceeded with that free-and-easy 
abandon, in which both master and slave appeared to have 
one common object, that of proving who should waste 
with most freedom. 

At Colonel Gordon s death, he had bequeathed, as we 
have already shown, the whole family estate to his daugh 
ter, under the care of a servant, of whose uncommon intel 
ligence and thorough devotion of heart he had the most 
ample proof. When it is reflected that the overseers are 


generally taken from a class of whites who are often lower in 
ignorance and barbarism than even the slaves, and that their 
wastefulness and rapacity are a byword among the planters, 
it is no wonder that Colonel Gordon thought that, in leav 
ing his plantation under the care of one so energetic, com 
petent, and faithful as Harry, he had made the best possi 
ble provision for his daughter. 

Harry was the son of his master, and inherited much of 
the temper and constitution of his father, tempered by the 
soft and genial temperament of the beautiful Eboe mulat- 
tress, who was his mother. From this circumstance Harry 
had received advantages of education very superior to what 
commonly fell to the lot of his class. He had also accom 
panied his master as valet during the tour of Europe, and 
thus his opportunities of general observation had been still 
further enlarged, and that tact, by which those of the 
mixed blood seem so peculiarly fitted to appreciate all the 
finer aspects of conventional life, had been called out and 
exercised; so that it would be difficult in any circle to 
meet with a more agreeable and gentlemanly person. In 
leaving a man of this character, and his own son, still in 
the bonds of slavery, Colonel Gordon was influenced by 
that passionate devotion to his daughter which with him 
overpowered every consideration. A man so cultivated, he 
argued to himself, might find many avenues opened to him 
in freedom; might be tempted to leave the estate to other 
hands, and seek his own fortune. He therefore resolved 
to leave him bound by an indissoluble tie for a term of 
years, trusting to his attachment to Nina to make this ser 
vice tolerable. 

Possessed of very uncommon judgment, firmness, and 
knowledge of human nature, Harry had found means to ac 
quire great ascendency over the hands of the plantation, 
and, either through fear or through friendship, there was 
a universal subordination to him. The executors of the 

42 DEED 

estate scarcely made even a feint of overseeing him ; and he 
proceeded, to all intents and purposes, with the perfect ease 
of a free man. Everybody, for miles around, knew and 
respected him; and had he not been possessed of a good 
share of the thoughtful, forecasting temperament derived 
from his Scottish parentage, he might have been completely 
happy, and forgotten even the existence of the chains 
whose weight he never felt. 

It was only in the presence of Tom Gordon Colonel 
Gordon s lawful son that he ever realized that he was a 
slave. From childhood there had been a rooted enmity 
between the brothers, which deepened as years passed on; 
and as he found himself, on every return of the young 
man to the place, subjected to taunts and ill usage, to 
which his defenseless position left him no power to reply, 
he had resolved never to marry, and lay the foundation for 
a family, until such time as he should be able to have the 
command of his own destiny and that of his household. 
But the charms of a pretty French quadroon overcame the 
dictates of prudence. 

The history of Tom Gordon is the history of many a 
young man grown up under the institutions and in the 
state of society which formed him. Nature had endowed 
him with no mean share of talent, and with that perilous 
quickness of nervous organization which, like fire, is a 
good servant, but a bad master. Out of those elements, 
with due training, might have been formed an efficient and 
eloquent public man; but brought up from childhood 
among servants to whom his infant will was law, indulged 
during the period of infantile beauty and grace in the full 
expression of every whim, growing into boyhood among 
slaves with but the average amount of plantation morality, 
his passions developed at a fearfully early time of life; 
and before his father thought of seizing the reins of 
authority, they had gone out of his hands forever. Tutor 


after tutor was employed on the plantation to instruct 
him, and left, terrified by his temper. The secluded 
nature of the plantation left him without that healthful 
stimulus of society which is often a help in enabling a boy 
to come to the knowledge and control of himself. His 
associates were either the slaves, or the overseers, who 
are generally unprincipled and artful, or the surrounding 
whites, who lay in a yet lower deep of degradation. For 
one reason or another, it was for the interest of all these to 
natter his vices and covertly to assist him in opposing and 
deceiving his parents. Thus an early age saw him an 
adept in every low form of vice. In despair, he was at 
length sent to an academy at the North, where he com 
menced his career on the first day by striking the teacher in 
the face, and was consequently expelled. Thence he went 
to another, where, learning caution from experience, he was 
enabled to maintain his foothold. There he was a success 
ful colporteur and missionary in the way of introducing a 
knowledge of bowie-knives, revolvers, and vicious litera 
ture. Artful, bold, and daring, his residence for a year at 
a school was sufficient to initiate in the way of ruin perhaps 
one fourth of the boys. He was handsome, and, when not 
provoked, good natured, and had that off-hand way of 
spending money which passes among boys for generosity. 
The simple sons of hard-working farmers, bred in habits of 
industry and frugality, were dazzled and astonished by the 
freedom with which he talked and drank and spit and 
swore. He was a hero in their eye, and they began to 
wonder at the number of things, to them unknown before, 
which went to make up the necessaries of life. From 
school he was transferred to college, and there placed under 
the care of a professor, who was paid an exorbitant sum for 
overlooking his affairs. The consequence was, that while 
many a northern boy, whose father could not afford to pay 
for similar patronage, was disciplined, rusticated, or ex- 

44 DEED 

pelled, as the case might be, Tom Gordon exploited glori 
ously through college, getting drunk every week or two, 
breaking windows, smoking freshmen, heading various 
sprees in different parts of the country, and at last gradu 
ating nobody knew how, except the patron professor, who 
received an extra sum for the extra difficulties of the case. 
Returned home, he went into a lawyer s office in Raleigh, 
where, by a pleasant fiction, he was said to be reading law, 
because he was occasionally seen at the office during the 
intervals of his more serious avocations of gambling and 
horse-racing and drinking. His father, an affectionate 
but passionate man, was wholly unable to control him, and 
the conflicts between them often shook the whole domestic 
fabric. Nevertheless, to the last Colonel Gordon indulged 
the old hope for such cases made and provided, that Tom 
would get through sowing his wild oats some time, and 
settle down and be a respectable man; in which hope he 
left him the half of his property. Since that time, Tom 
seemed to have studied on no subject except how to accele 
rate the growth of those wings which riches are said to be 
inclined to take, under the most favorable circumstances. 

As often happens in such cases of utter ruin, Tom Gor 
don was a much worse character for all the elements of good 
which he possessed. He had sufficient perception of right, 
and sufficient conscience remaining, to make him bitter and 
uncomfortable. In proportion as he knew himself un 
worthy of his father s affection and trust, he became jealous 
and angry at any indications of the want of it. He had 
contracted a settled ill will to his sister, for no other ap 
parent reason except that the father took a comfort in her 
which he did not in him. From childhood it was his 
habit to vex and annoy her in every possible way; and it 
was for this reason, among many others, that Harry had 
persuaded Mr. John Gordon, Nina s uncle and guardian, 
to place her at the New York boarding-school, where she 


acquired what is termed an education. After finishing her 
school career, she had been spending a few months in a 
family of a cousin of her mother s, and running with loose 
rein the career of fashionable gayety. 

Luckily, she brought home with her unspoiled a genuine 
love of nature, which made the rural habits of plantation 
life agreeable to her. Neighbors there were few. Her 
uncle s plantation, five miles distant, was the nearest. 
Other families with whom the Gordons were in the habit 
of exchanging occasional visits were some ten or fifteen 
miles distant. It was Nina s delight, however, in her mus 
lin wrapper and straw hat, to patter about over the planta 
tion, to chat with the negroes among their cabins, amusing 
herself with the various drolleries and peculiarities to 
which long absence had given the zest of novelty. Then 
she would call for her pony, and, attended by Harry or 
some of her servants, would career through the woods, 
gathering the wild-flowers with which they abound; per 
haps stop for a day at her uncle s, have a chat and a romp 
with him, and return the next morning. 

In the comparative solitude of her present life her mind 
began to clear itself of some former follies, as water when 
at rest deposits the sediment which clouded it. Apart 
from the crowd, and the world of gayeties which had diz 
zied her, she could not help admitting to herself the folly 
of much she had been doing. Something, doubtless, was 
added to this by the letters of Clayton. The tone of them, 
so manly and sincere, so respectful and kind, so removed 
either from adulation or sentimentalism, had an effect upon 
her greater than she was herself aware of. So Nina, in 
her positive and off-hand way, sat down, one day, and 
wrote farewell letters to both her other lovers, and felt 
herself quite relieved by the process. 

A young person could scarce stand more entirely alone, 
as to sympathetic intercourse with relations, than Nina. It 

46 DEED 

is true that the presence of her mother s sister in the fam 
ily caused it to be said that she was residing under the care 
of an aunt. Mrs. Nesbit, however, was simply one of 
those well-bred, well-dressed lay-figures, whose only office 
in life seems to be to occupy a certain room in a house, to 
sit in certain chairs at proper hours, to make certain re 
marks at suitable intervals of conversation. In her youth 
this lady had run quite a career as a belle and beauty. 
Nature had endowed her with a handsome face and figure, 
and youth arid the pleasure of admiration for some years 
supplied a sufficient flow of animal spirits to make the 
beauty effective. Early married, she became the mother 
of several children, who were one by one swept into the 
grave. The death of her husband, last of all, left her with 
a very small fortune alone in the world; and like many in 
similar circumstances, she was content to sink into an 
appendage to another s family. 

Mrs. Nesbit considered herself very religious; and as 
there is a great deal that passes for religion, ordinarily, of 
which she may be fairly considered a representative, we 
will present our readers with a philosophical analysis of 
the article. When young, she had thought only of self in 
the form of admiration and the indulgence of her animal 
spirits. When married, she had thought of self only in 
her husband and children, whom she loved because they 
were hers, and for no other reason. 

When death swept away her domestic circle, and time 
stole the beauty and freshness of animal spirits, her self- 
love took another form; and perceiving that this world 
was becoming to her somewhat passe, she determined to 
make the best of her chance for another. Religion she 
looked upon in the light of a ticket, which, being once 
purchased, and snugly laid away in a pocketbook, is to be 
produced at the celestial gate, and thus secure admission to 


At a certain period of her life, while she deemed this 
ticket unpurchased, she was extremely low spirited and 
gloomy, and went through a quantity of theological reading 
enough to have astonished herself, had she foreseen it in 
the days of her belleship. As the result of all, she at last 
presented herself as a candidate for admission to a Presby 
terian church in the vicinity, there professing her deter 
mination to run the Christian race. By the Christian race, 
she understood going at certain stated times to religious 
meetings, reading the Bible and hymn-book at certain 
hours in the day, giving at regular intervals stipulated 
sums to religious charities, and preserving a general state 
of leaden indifference to everybody and everything in the 

She thus fondly imagined that she had renounced the 
world, because she looked back with disgust on gayeties 
for which she had no longer strength or spirits. Nor did 
she dream that the intensity with which her mind traveled 
the narrow world of self, dwelling on the plaits of her caps, 
the cut of her stone- colored satin gowns, the making of 
her tea and her bed, and the saving of her narrow income, 
was exactly the same in kind, though far less agreeable in 
development, as that which once expended itself in dress 
ing and dancing. Like many other apparently negative 
characters, she had a pertinacious intensity of an extremely 
narrow and aimless self-will. Her plans of life, small as 
they were, had a thousand crimps and plaits, to every one 
of which she adhered with invincible pertinacity. The 
poor lady little imagined, when she sat, with such punctil 
ious satisfaction, while the Eev. Mr. Orthodoxy demon 
strated that selfishness is the essence of all moral evil, that 
the sentiment had the slightest application to her; nor 
dreamed that the little, quiet, muddy current of self-will, 
which ran without noise or indecorum under the whole 
structure of her being, might be found, in a future day, to 

48 DEED 

have undermined all her hopes of heaven. Of course, 
Mrs. Nesbit regarded Nina and all other lively young 
people with a kind of melancholy endurance as shocking 
spectacles of worldliness. There was but little sympathy, 
to be sure, between the dashing and outspoken and almost 
defiant little Nina and the sombre, silver-gray apparition 
which glided quietly about the wide halls of Nina s pa 
ternal mansion. In fact, it seemed to afford the latter a 
mischievous pleasure to shock her respectable relative on all 
convenient occasions. Mrs. Nesbit felt it occasionally her 
duty, as she remarked, to call her lively niece into her 
apartment, and endeavor to persuade her to read some such 
volume as Law s Serious Call, or Owen on the One Hun 
dred and Nineteenth Psalm; and to give her a general and 
solemn warning against all the vanities of the world, in 
which were generally included dressing in any color but 
black and drab, dancing, flirting, writing love-letters, and 
all other enormities, down to the eating of peanut candy. 
One of these scenes is just now enacting in this good lady s 
apartment, upon which we will raise the curtain. 

Mrs. Nesbit, a diminutive, blue-eyed, fair-complexioned 
little woman, of some five feet high, sat gently swaying in 
that respectable asylum for American old age, commonly 
called a rocking-chair. Every rustle of her silvery silk 
gown, every fold of the snowy kerchief on her neck, every 
plait of her immaculate cap, spoke a soul long retired from 
this world and its cares. The bed, arranged with extrem- 
est precision, however, was covered with a melange of 
French finery, flounces, laces, among which Nina kept up 
a continual agitation like that produced by a breeze in a 
flower-bed, as she unfolded, turned, and fluttered them, 
before the eyes of her relative. 

"I have been through all this, Nina," said the latter, 
with a melancholy shake of her head, "and I know the 
vanity of it." 


"Well, aunty, I haven t been through it, so / don t 
know. " 

"Yes, my dear, when I was of your age, I used to go to 
balls and parties, and could think of nothing but of dress 
and admiration. I have been through it all, and seen the 
vanity of it." 

"Well, aunt, I want to go through it, and see the van 
ity of it, too. That s just what I m after. I m on the 
way to be as sombre and solemn as you are, but I m bound 
to have a good time first. Now, look at this pink bro 
cade ! " 

Had the brocade been a pall, it could scarcely have been 
regarded with a more lugubrious aspect. 

"Ah, child! such a dying world as this! To spend so 
much time and thought on dress ! " 

"Why, Aunt Nesbit, yesterday you spent just two 
whole hours in thinking whether you should turn the 
breadths of your black silk dress upside down, or down 
side up; and this was a dying world all the time. Now, 
I don t see that it is any better to think of black silk than 
it is of pink." 

This was a view of the subject which seemed never to 
have occurred to the good lady. 

" But now, aunt, do cheer up, and look at this box of 
artificial flowers. You know I thought I d bring a stock 
on from New York. Now, aren t these perfectly lovely? 
I like flowers that mean something. Now, these are all 
imitations of natural flowers, so perfect that you d scarcely 
know them from the real. See there, that s a moss- 
rose; and now look at these sweet peas, you d think they 
had just been picked; and there that heliotrope, and 
these jessamines, and those orange-blossoms, and that wax 
camellia " 

" Turn off my eyes from beholding vanity ! " said Mrs. 
Nesbit, shutting her eyes, and shaking her head : 

50 DRED 

" What if we wear the richest vest, 
Peacocks and flies are better drest; 
This flesh, with all its glorious forms, 
Must drop to earth, and feed the worms. " 

"Aunt, I do think you have the most horrid, disgusting 
set of hymns, all about worms, and dust, and such things ! " 

"It s my duty, child, when I see you so much taken up 
with such sinful finery." 

"Why, aunt, do you think artificial flowers are sinful?" 

"Yes, dear; they are a sinful waste of time and money, 
and take off our mind from more important things." 

"Well, aunt, then what did the Lord make sweet peas 
and roses and orange-blossoms for? I m sure it s only 
doing as he does, to make flowers. He don t make every 
thing gray, or stone- color. Now, if you only would come 
out in the garden, this morning, and see the oleanders, and 
the crape myrtle, and the pinks, the roses, and the tulips, 
and the hyacinths, I m sure it would do you good." 

"Oh, I should certainly catch cold, child, if I went out 
doors. Milly left a crack opened in the window, last 
night, and I ve sneezed three or four times since. It will 
never do for me to go out in the garden; the feeling of 
the ground striking up through my shoes is very un 

"Well, at any rate, aunt, I should think if the Lord 
didn t wish us to wear roses and jessamines, he would not 
have made them. And it is the most natural thing in the 
world to want to wear flowers." 

"It only feeds vanity and a love of display, my dear." 

"I don t think it s vanity or a love of display. I 
should want to dress prettily if I were the only person in 
the world. I love pretty things because they are pretty. 
I like to wear them because they make me look pretty." 

"There it is, child; you want to dress up your poor 
perishing body to look pretty that s the thing! " 

"To be sure I do. Why shouldn t I? I mean to look 
as pretty as I can, as long as I live." 


" You seem to have quite a conceit of your beauty ! " 
said Aunt Nesbit. 

"Well, I know I am pretty. I m not going to pretend 
I don t. I like my own looks, now, that s a fact. I m 
not like one of your Greek statues, I know. I m not 
wonderfully handsome, nor likely to set the world on fire 
with my beauty. I m just a pretty little thing; and I 
like flowers and laces, and all of those things; and I mean 
to like them, and I don t think there 11 be a bit of religion 
in my not liking them; and as for all that disagreeable 
stuff about the worms, that you are always telling me, I 
don t think it does me a particle of good. And if religion 
is going to make me so poky, I shall put it off as long 
as I can." 

"I used to feel just as you do, dear, but I ve seen the 
folly of it! 7 

"If I ve got to lose my love for everything that is 
bright, everything that is lively, and everything that is 
pretty, and like to read such horrid stupid books, why, 
I d rather be buried, and done with it ! " 

"That s the opposition of the natural heart, my dear." 

The conversation was here interrupted by the entrance 
of a bright, curly-headed mulatto boy, bearing Mrs. Nes 
bit s daily luncheon. 

"Oh, here comes Tomtit," said Nina; "now for a scene. 
Let s see what he has forgotten, now." 

Tomtit was, in his way, a great character in the man 
sion. He and his grandmother were the property of Mrs. 
Nesbit. His true name was no less respectable and me 
thodical than that of Thomas; but as he was one of those 
restless and effervescent sprites who seem to be born for 
the confusion of quiet people, Nina had rechristened him 
Tomtit, which sobriquet was immediately recognized by 
the whole household as being eminently descriptive and 
appropriate. A constant ripple and eddy of drollery 

52 DEED 

seemed to pervade his whole being; his large, saucy black 
eyes had always a laughing fire in them, that it was im 
possible to meet without a smile in return. Slave and 
property though he was, yet the first sentiment of rever 
ence for any created thing seemed yet wholly unawakened 
in his curly pate. Breezy, idle, careless, flighty, as his 
woodland namesake, life to him seemed only a repressed 
and pent-up ebullition of animal enjoyment; and almost 
the only excitement of Mrs. Nesbit s quiet life was her 
chronic controversy with Tomtit. Forty or fifty times a 
day did the old body assure him "that she was astonished 
at his conduct; 7 and as many times would he reply by 
showing the whole set of his handsome teeth, on the broad 
grin, wholly inconsiderate of the state of despair into which 
he thus reduced her. 

On the present occasion, as he entered the room, his eye 
was caught by the great display of finery on the bed; and 
hastily dumping the waiter on the first chair that occurred, 
with a flirt and a spring as lithe as that of a squirrel, he 
was seated in a moment astride the foot- board, indulging 
in a burst of merriment. 

"Good law, Miss Nina, whar on earth dese yer come 
from? Good law, some on em for me, isn t er?" 

" You see that child ! " now said Mrs. Nesbit, rocking 
back in her chair with the air of a martyr. "After all my 
talkings to him! Nina, you ought not to allow that; it 
just encourages him ! " 

"Tom, get down, you naughty creature, you, and get 
the stand and put the waiter on it. Mind yourself, now ! " 
said Nina, laughing. 

Tomtit cut a somerset from the foot- board to the floor, 
and striking up, on a very high key, "I 11 bet my money 
on a bobtail nag," he danced out a small table, as if it had 
been a partner, and deposited it, with a jerk, at the side 
of Mrs. Nesbit, who aimed a cuff at his ears; but as he 


adroitly ducked his head, the intended blow came down 
upon the table with more force than was comfortable to 
the inflictor. 

" I believe that child is made of air ! I never can hit 
him!" said the good lady, waxing red in the face. "He 
is enough to provoke a saint ! " 

"So he is, aunt; enough to provoke two saints like you 
and me. Tomtit, you rogue, " said she, giving a gentle pull 
to a handful of his curly hair, "be good, now, and I 11 show 
you the pretty things by and by. Come, put the waiter 
on the table, now; see if you can t walk, for once! " 

Casting down his eyes with an irresistible look of mock 
solemnity, Tomtit marched with the waiter, and placed it 
by his mistress. 

The good lady, after drawing off her gloves and making 
sundry little decorous preparations, said a short grace over 
her meal, during which time Tomtit seemed to be holding 
his sides with repressed merriment; then gravely laying 
hold of the handle of the teapot, she stopped short, gave an 
exclamation, and flirted her fingers, as she felt it almost 
scalding hot. 

"Tomtit, I do believe you intend to burn me to death, 
some day ! " 

"Laws, missus, dat are hot? Oh, sure I was tickler to 
set the nose round to the fire." 

"No, you didn t! You stuck the handle right into the 
fire, as you re always doing! " 

"Laws, now, wonder if I did," said Tomtit, assuming 
an abstracted appearance. " Pears as if never can mem 
ber which dem dare is nose, and which handle. Now, 
I s a-studdin on dat dare most all de morning was so," 
said he, gathering confidence, as he saw, by Nina s dancing 
eyes, how greatly she was amused. 

"You need a sound whipping, sir that s what you 
need ! " said Mrs. Nesbit, kindling up in sudden wrath. 

54 DEED 

"Oh, I knows it," said Tomtit. "We s unprofitable 
servants, all on us. Lord s marcy that we ain t sumed, 
all on us ! " 

, Nina was so completely overcome by this novel applica 
tion of the text which she had heard her aunt laboriously 
drumming into Tomtit, the Sabbath before, that she 
laughed aloud, with rather uproarious merriment. 

"Oh, aunt, there s no use! He don t know anything! 
He s nothing but an incarnate joke, a walking hoax! " 

"No, I does n t know nothing, Miss Mna," said Tomtit, 
at the same time looking out from under his long eyelashes. 
"Don t know nothing at all never can." 

"Well, now, Tomtit," said Mrs. Nesbit, drawing out 
a little blue cowhide from under her chair, and looking at 
him resolutely, "you see, if this teapot handle is hot again, 
I 11 give it to you ! Do you hear? " 

"Yes, missis," said Tomtit, with that indescribable sing 
song of indifference which is so common and so provoking 
in his class. 

"And now, Tomtit, you go downstairs and clean the 
knives for dinner." 

"Yes, missis," said he, pirouetting towards the door. 
And once in the passage, he struck up a vigorous "Oh, 
I m going to glory, won t you go along with me; " accom 
panying himself, by slapping his own sides, as he went 
down two stairs at a time. 

"Going to glory!" said Mrs. Nesbit, rather shortly; 
"he looks like it, I think! It s the third or fourth time 
that that child has blistered my fingers with this teapot, 
and I know he does it on purpose ! So ungrateful, when 
I spend my time, teaching him, hour after hour, laboring 
with him so! I declare, I don t believe these children 
have got any souls ! " 

"Well, aunt, I declare, I should think you d get out of 
all patience with him; yet he s so funny, I cannot, for 
the life of me, help laughing." 


Here a distant whoop on the staircase, and a tempestu 
ous chorus to a Methodist hymn, with the words, "Oh 
come, my loving brethren," announced that Tomtit was on 
the return; and very soon, throwing open the door, he 
marched in, with an air of the greatest importance. 

"Tomtit, didn t I tell you to go and clean the knives? " 

"Law, missis, come up here to bring Miss Nina s love- 
letters," said he, producing two or three letters. "Good 
law, though," said he, checking himself, "forgot to put 
them on a waity ! " and before a word could be said, he 
was out of the room and downstairs, and at the height of 
furious contest with the girl who was cleaning the silver, 
for a waiter to put Miss Nina s letters on. 

"Dar, Miss Nina," appealing to her when she appeared, 
"Rosa won t let me have no waity! " 

" I could pull your hair for you, you little image ! " said 
Nina, seizing the letters from his hands, and laughing 
while she cuffed his ears. 

"Well," said Tomtit, looking after her with great solem 
nity, "missis in de right on t. Ain t no kind of order in 
this here house, pite of all I can do. One says put letters 
on waity. Another one won t let you have waity to put 
letters on. And, finally, Miss Nina, she pull them all away. 
Just the way things going on in dis yer house, all the time ! 
I can t help it; done all I can. Just the way missus says ! " 

There was one member of Nina s establishment of a 
character so marked that we cannot refrain from giving her 
a separate place in our picture of her surroundings, and 
this was Milly, the waiting-woman of Aunt Nesbit. 

Aunt Milly, as she was commonly called, was a tall, 
broad-shouldered, deep-chested African woman, with a 
fullness of figure approaching to corpulence. Her habit of 
standing and of motion was peculiar and majestic, remind 
ing one of the Scripture expression "upright as the palm- 
tree." Her skin was of a peculiar blackness and softness, 

56 DEED 

not unlike black velvet. Her eyes were large, full, and 
dark, and had about them that expression of wishfulness 
and longing which one may sometimes have remarked in 
dark eyes. Her mouth was large, and the lips, though 
partaking of the African fullness, had, nevertheless, some 
thing decided and energetic in their outline, which was 
still further seconded by the heavy moulding of the chin. 
A frank smile, which was common with her, disclosed a 
row of most splendid and perfect teeth. Her hair, without 
approaching to the character of the Anglo-Saxon, was still 
different from the ordinary woolly coat of the negro, and 
seemed more like an infinite number of close-knotted curls, 
of brilliant, glossy blackness. 

The parents of Milly were prisoners taken in African 
wars; and she was a fine specimen of one of those warlike 
and splendid races, of whom, as they have seldom been 
reduced to slavery, there are but few and rare specimens 
among the slaves of the South. Her usual head-dress was 
a high turban, of those brilliant colored Madras handker 
chiefs in which the instinctive taste of the dark races leads 
them to delight. Milly s was always put on and worn 
with a regal air, as if it were the coronet of the queen. 
For the rest, her dress consisted of a well-fitted gown of 
dark stuff, of a quality somewhat finer than the usual 
household apparel. A neatly starched white muslin hand 
kerchief folded across her bosom, and a clean white apron, 
completed her usual costume. No one could regard her, 
as a whole, and not feel their prejudice in favor of the 
exclusive comeliness of white races somewhat shaken. 
Placed among the gorgeous surroundings of African land 
scape and scenery, it might be doubted whether any one s 
taste could have desired, as a completion to her appearance, 
to have blanched the glossy skin whose depth of coloring 
harmonizes so well with the intense and fiery glories of a 
tropical landscape. 


In character Milly was worthy of her remarkable exter 
nal appearance. Heaven had endowed her with a soul 
as broad and generous as her ample frame. Her passions 
rolled and burned in her bosom with a tropical fervor; a 
shrewd and abundant mother wit, united with a vein of 
occasional drollery, gave to her habits of speech a quaint 

A native adroitness gave an unwonted command over all 
the functions of her fine body, so that she was endowed 
with that much-coveted property which the New Englander 
denominates "faculty," which means the intuitive ability 
to seize at once on the right and best way of doing every 
thing which is to be done. At the same time, she was 
possessed of that high degree of self-respect which led her 
to be incorruptibly faithful and thorough in all she under 
took; less, as it often seemed, from any fealty or deference 
to those whom she served, than from a kind of native pride 
in well-doing, which led her to deem it beneath herself to 
slight or pass over the least thing which she had under 
taken. Her promises were inviolable. Her owners always 
knew that what she once said would be done, if it were 
within the bounds of possibility. 

The value of an individual thus endowed in person and 
character may be easily conceived by those who understand 
how rare, either among slaves or freemen, is such a combi 
nation. Milly was, therefore, always considered in the 
family as a most valuable piece of property, and treated 
with more than common consideration. 

As a mind, even when uncultivated, will ever find its 
level, it often happened that Milly s amount of being and 
force of character gave her ascendency even over those who 
were nominally her superiors. As her ways were com 
monly found to be the best ways, she was left, in most 
cases, to pursue them without opposition or control. But 
favorite as she was, her life had been one of deep sorrows. 

58 DRED 

She had been suffered, it is true, to contract a marriage 
with a very finely endowed mulatto man, on a plantation 
adjoining her owner s, by whom she had a numerous fam 
ily of children, who inherited all her fine physical and 
mental endowments. With more than usual sensibility 
and power of reflection, the idea that the children so dear 
to her were from their birth not her own that they were, 
from the first hour of their existence, merchantable arti 
cles, having a fixed market value in proportion to every 
excellence, and liable to all the reverses of merchantable 
goods sank with deep weight into her mind. Unfortu 
nately, the family to which she belonged being reduced to 
poverty, there remained, often, no other means of making 
up the deficiency of income than the annual sale of one or 
two negroes. Milly s children, from their fine develop 
ments, were much-coveted articles. Their owner was often 
tempted by extravagant offers for them; and therefore, to 
meet one crisis or another of family difficulties, they had 
been successively sold from her. At first, she had met 
this doom with almost the ferocity of a lioness; but the 
blow, oftentimes repeated, had brought with it a dull endur 
ance, and Christianity had entered, as it often does with 
the slave, through the rents and fissures of a broken heart. 
Those instances of piety which are sometimes, though 
rarely, found among slaves, and which transcend the ordi 
nary development of the best instructed, are generally the 
results of calamities and afflictions so utterly desolating as 
to force the soul to depend on God alone. But where one 
soul is thus raised to higher piety, thousands are crushed 
in hopeless imbecility. 



SEVERAL miles from the Gordon estate, on an old and 
somewhat decayed plantation, stood a neat log cabin, whose 
external aspect showed both taste and care. It was almost 
enveloped in luxuriant wreaths of yellow jessamine, and 
garlanded with a magnificent lamarque rose, whose cream- 
colored buds and flowers contrasted beautifully with the 
dark, polished green of the finely cut leaves. The house 
stood in an inclosure formed by a high hedge of the Ameri 
can holly, whose evergreen foliage and scarlet berries made 
it, at all times of the year, a beautiful object. Within 
the inclosure was a garden, carefully tended, and devoted 
to the finest fruits and flowers. 

This little dwelling, so different in its air of fanciful 
neatness from ordinary southern cabins, was the abode of 
Harry s little wife. Lisette, which was her name, was 
the slave of a French Creole woman, to whom a plantation 
had recently fallen by inheritance. She was a delicate, 
airy little creature, formed by a mixture of the African 
and French blood, producing one of those fanciful, exotic 
combinations that give one the same impression of bril 
liancy and richness that one receives from tropical insects 
and flowers. From both parent races she was endowed 
with a sensuous being exquisitely quick and fine, a 
nature of everlasting childhood, with all its freshness of 
present life, all its thoughtless, unreasoning fearlessness of 
the future. 

She stands there at her ironing-table, just outside her 

60 DEED 

cottage door, singing gayly at her work. Her round, 
plump, childish form is shown to advantage by the trim 
blue basque, laced in front, over a chemisette of white 
linen. Her head is wreathed with a gay turban, from 
which escapes, now and then, a wandering curl of her silky 
black hair. Her eyes, as she raises them, have the hazy, 
dreamy languor which is so characteristic of the mixed 
races. Her little, childish hands are busy, with nimble 
ringers adroitly plaiting and arranging various articles of 
feminine toilet, too delicate and expensive to have belonged 
to those in humble circumstances. She ironed, plaited, 
and sung, with busy care. Occasionally, however, she 
would suspend her work, and running between the flower 
borders to the hedge, look wistfully along the road, shad 
ing her eyes with her hand. At last, as she saw a man on 
horseback approaching, she flew lightly out, and ran to 
meet him. 

"Harry, Harry! You ve come, at last. I m so glad! 
And what have you got in that paper 1 Is it anything for 

He held it up, and shook it at her, while she leaped 
after it. 

"No, no, little curiosity!" he said gayly. 

"I know it s something for me," said she, with a pretty, 
half-pouting air. 

"And why do you know it s for you? Is everything 
to be for you in the world, you little good-for-nothing ? " 

"Good-for-nothing!" with a toss of the gayly turbaned 
little head. "You may well say that, sir! Just look at 
the two dozen shirts I ve ironed, since morning! Come, 
now, take me up; I want to ride." 

Harry put out the toe of his boot and his hand, and 
with an adroit spring, she was in a moment before him, on 
his horse s neck, and with a quick turn, snatched the 
paper parcel from his hand. 


"Woman s curiosity !" said he. 

" Well, I want to see what it is. Dear me, what a tight 
string! Oh, I can t break it! Well, here it goes; I ll 
tear a hole in it, anyhow. Oh, silk, as I live! Aha! 
tell me now this isn t for me, you bad thing, you! " 

"Why, how do you know it isn t to make me a summer 

"Summer coat! likely story! Aha! I ve found you 
out, mister! But, come, do make the horse canter! I 
want to go fast. Make him canter, do ! " 

Harry gave a sudden jerk to the reins, and in a minute 
the two were flying off as if on the wings of the wind. On 
and on they went, through a small coppice of pines, while 
the light-hearted laugh rang on the breeze behind them. 
Now they are lost to view. In a few minutes, emerging 
from the pine woods in another direction, they come sweep 
ing, gay and laughing, up to the gate. To fasten the horse, 
to snatch the little wife on his shoulder, and run into the 
cottage with her, seemed the work only of a moment; and 
as he set her down, still laughing, he exclaimed, 

"There, go, now, for a pretty little picture, as you are! 
I have helped them get up les tableaux vivans, at their great 
houses; but you are my tableau. You aren t good for 
much. You are nothing but a humming-bird, made to live 
on honey ! " 

"That s what I am! " said the little one. "It takes a 
great deal of honey to keep me. I want to be praised, 
nattered, and loved, all the time. It is n t enough to have 
you love me. I want to hear you tell me so every day, 
and hour, and minute. And I want you always to admire 
me, and praise everything that I do. Now " 

"Particularly when you tear holes in packages!" said 

"Oh, my silk my new silk dress!" said Lisette, thus 
reminded of the package which she held in her hand. 

62 DEED 

"This hateful string! How it cuts my fingers! I will 
break it! I ll bite it in two. Harry, Harry, don t you 
see how it hurts my fingers? Why don t you cut it? " 

And the little sprite danced about the cottage floor, 
tearing the paper, and tugging at the string, like an en 
raged humming-bird. Harry came laughing behind her, 
and taking hold of her two hands, held them quite still, 
while he cut the string of the parcel, and unfolded a gor 
geous plaid silk, crimson, green, and orange. 

"There, now, what do you think of that? Miss Nina 
brought it, when she came home, last week." 

"Oh, how lovely! Isn t she a beauty? Isn t she 
good? How beautiful it is! Dear me, dear me! how 
happy I am ! How happy we are ! ain t we, Harry ? " 

A shadow came over Harry s forehead as he answered, 
with a half -sigh, 


"I was up at three o clock this morning, on purpose to 
get all my ironing done to-day, because I thought you 
were to come home to-night. Ah! ah! you don t know 
what a supper I ve got ready! You ll see, by and by. 
I m going to do something uncommon. You mustn t look 
in that other room, Harry you mustn t! " 

"Mustn t I?" said Harry, getting up, and going to the 

"There, now! who s curiosity now, I wonder!" said 
she, springing nimbly between him and the door. "No, 
you sha n t go in, though. There, now; don t, don t! 
Be good now, Harry ! " 

"Well, I may as well give up first as last. This is 
your house, not mine, I suppose," said Harry. 

"Mr. Submission, how meek we are, all of a sudden. 
Well, while the fit lasts, you go to the spring and get me 
some water to fill this teakettle. Off with you now, this 
minute! Mind you don t stop to play by the way! " 


And while Harry is gone to the spring we will follow 
the wife into the forbidden room. Very cool and pleasant 
it is, with its white window-curtains, its matted floor, and 
displaying in the corner that draped feather bed, with its 
ruffled pillows and fringed curtains, which it is the great 
ambition of the southern cabin to attain and maintain. 

The door, which opened on to a show of most brilliant 
flowers, was overlaid completely by the lamarque rose we 
have before referred to; and large clusters of its creamy 
blossoms, and wreaths of its dark green leaves, had been 
enticed in and tied to sundry nails and pegs by the small 
hands of the little mistress, to form an arch of flowers and 
roses. A little table stood in the door, draped with a 
spotless damask table - cloth, fine enough for the use of 
a princess, and only produced by the little mistress on 
festive occasions. On it were arranged dishes curiously 
trimmed with moss and vine leaves, which displayed straw 
berries and peaches, with a pitcher of cream and one of 
whey, small dishes of curd, delicate cakes and biscuit, and 
fresh golden butter. 

After patting and arranging the table-cloth, Lisette 
tripped gayly around, and altered here and there the 
arrangement of a dish, occasionally stepping back, and 
cocking her little head on one side, much like a bird, sing 
ing gayly as she did so ; then she would pick a bit of moss 
from this, and a flower from that, and retreat again, and 
watch the effect. 

"How surprised he will be! " she said to herself. Still 
humming a tune in a low, gurgling undertone, she danced 
hither and thither, round the apartment. First she gave 
the curtains a little shake, and unlooping one of them, 
looped it up again, so as to throw the beams of the even 
ing sun on the table. 

" There, there, there ! how pretty the light falls through 
those nasturtions! I wonder if the room smells of the 

64 DEED 

mignonette. I gathered it when the dew was on it, and 
they say that will make it smell all day. Now, here s 
Harry s bookcase. Dear me! these flies! How they do 
get on to everything ! Shoo, shoo ! now, now ! " and 
catching a gay bandana handkerchief from the drawer, she 
perfectly exhausted herself in flying about the room in 
pursuit of the buzzing intruders, who soared and dived 
and careered, after the manner of flies in general, seeming 
determined to go anywhere but out of the door, and finally 
were seen brushing their wings and licking their feet, with 
great alertness, on the very topmost height of the sacred 
bed-curtains; and as just this moment a glimpse was caught 
of Harry returning from the spring, Lisette was obliged to 
abandon the chase, and rush into the other room, to pre 
vent a premature development of her little tea tableau. 
Then a small pug-nosed, black teakettle came on to the 
stage of action, from some unknown cupboard; and Harry 
had to fill it with water, and of course spilt the water on 
to the ironing-table, which made another little breezy, 
chattering commotion; and then the flat-irons were cleared 
away, and the pug-nosed kettle reigned in their stead on 
the charcoal brazier. 

"Now, Harry, was ever such a smart wife as I am? 
Only think, besides all the rest that I ve done, I ve ironed 
your white linen suit, complete! Now, go put it on. 
Not in there ! not in there ! " she said, pushing him away 
from the door. "You can t go there, yet. You ll do 
well enough out here." 

And away she went, singing through the garden walks; 
and the song, floating back behind her, seemed like an odor 
brushed from the flowers. The refrain came rippling in 
at the door 

" Me think not what to-morrow bring; 
Me happy, so me sing! " 

"Poor little thing!" said Harry to himself; "why 
should I try to teach her anything ? " 


In a few minutes she was back again, her white apron 
thrown over her arm, and blossoms of yellow jessamine, 
spikes of blue lavender, and buds of moss-roses peeping 
out from it. She skipped gayly along, and deposited her 
treasure on the ironing- table ; then, with a zealous, bus 
tling earnestness, which characterized everything she did, 
she began sorting them into two bouquets, alternately talk 
ing and singing, as she did so, 

" Come on, ye rosy hours, 
All joy and gladness bring ! 

"You see, Harry, you re going to have a bouquet to 
put into the buttonhole of that coat. It will make you 
look so handsome ! There, now there, now, 

We 11 strew the way with flowers, 
And merrily, merrily sing. " 

Suddenly stopping, she looked at him archly, and said, 
"You can t tell, now, what I m doing all this for! " 

"There s never any telling what you women do any 
thing for." 

"Do hear him talk so pompous! Well, sir, it s for 
your birthday, now. Aha! you thought, because I can t 
keep the day of the month, that I did n t know anything 
about it; but I did. And I have put down now a chalk- 
mark every day, for four weeks, right under where I keep 
my ironing- account, so as to be sure of it. And I ve been 
busy about it ever since two o clock this morning. And 
now there, the teakettle is boiling ! " and away she 
flew to the door. 

"Oh, dear me! dear me, now! I ve killed myself 
now, I have ! " she cried, holding up one of her hands, 
and flirting it up in the air. "Dear me! who knew it 
was so hot ? " 

"I should think a little woman that is so used to the 
holder might have known it," said Harry, as he caressed 
the little burnt hand. 

VOL. I. 

66 DEED 

"Come, now, let me carry it for you," said Harry, "and 
I 11 make the tea, if you 11 let me go into that mysterious 
room. " 

"Indeed, no, Harry I m going to do everything my 
self ; " and forgetting the burnt finger, Lisette was off in 
a moment, and back in a moment with a shining teapot in 
her hand, and the tea was made. And at last the myste 
rious door opened, and Lisette stood with her eyes fixed 
upon Harry, to watch the effect. 

"Superb! magnificent! splendid! Why, this is 
good enough for a king ! And where did you get all these 
things ? " said Harry. 

"Oh, out of our garden all but the peaches. Those 
old Mist gave me they come from Florida. There, now, 
you laughed at me, last summer, when I set those straw 
berry vines, and made all sorts of fun of me. And what 
do you think now ? " 

"Think! I think you re a wonderful little thing a 
perfect witch." 

"Come, now, let s sit down, then you there, and I 
here." And opening the door of the bird-cage, which 
hung in the lamarque rose-bush, "Little Button shall 
come, too." 

Button, a bright yellow canary, with a smart black tuft 
upon his head, seemed to understand his part in the little 
domestic scene perfectly; for he stepped obediently upon 
the finger which was extended to him, and was soon sitting 
quite at his ease on the mossy edge of one of the dishes, 
pecking at the strawberries. 

"And now, do tell me," said Lisette, "all about Miss 
Nina. How does she look 1 " 

"Pretty and smart as ever," said Harry. "Just the 
same witchy, willful ways with her." 

"And did she show you her dresses? " 

"Oh yes; the whole." 


" Oh, do tell me about them, Harry do ! " 

"Well, there s a lovely pink gauze, covered with span 
gles, to be worn over white satin." 

" With flounces 1 " said Lisette earnestly. 

"With flounces. 7 

" How many 1 " 

"Really, I don t remember." 

"Don t remember how many flounces? Why, Harry, 
how stupid! Say, Harry, don t you suppose she will let 
me come and look at her things ? " 

"Oh yes, dear, I don t doubt she will; and that will 
save my making a gazette of myself." 

" Oh, when will you take me there, Harry ? " 

"Perhaps to-morrow, dear. And now," said Harry, 
"that you have accomplished your surprise upon me, I 
have a surprise, in return, for you. You can t guess, now, 
what Miss Nina brought for me." 

"No, indeed! What?" said Lisette, springing up; 
"do tell me quick." 

" Patience patience ! " said Harry, deliberately fum 
bling in his pocket, amusing himself with her excited air. 
But who should speak the astonishment and rapture which 
widened Lisette s dark eyes when the watch was pro 
duced? She clapped her hands, and danced for joy, to 
the imminent risk of upsetting the table, and all the things 
on it. 

" I do think we are the most fortunate people you 
and I, Harry! Everything goes just as we want it to 
doesn t it, now? " 

Harry s assent to this comprehensive proposition was 
much less fervent than suited his little wife. 

"Now, what s the matter with you? What goes 
wrong? Why don t you rejoice as I do?" said she, com 
ing and seating herself down upon his knee. "Come, 
now, you ve been working too hard, I know. I m going 

68 DEED 

to sing to you, now; you want something to cheer you 
up." And Lisette took down her banjo, and sat down in 
the doorway under the arch of lamarque roses, and began 
thrumming gayly. 

"This is the nicest little thing, this banjo!" she said; 
"I wouldn t change it for all the guitars in the world. 
Now, Harry, I m going to sing something specially for 
you. " And Lisette sung : 

" What are the joys of white man, here, 

What are his pleasures, say ? 
He great, he proud, he haughty fine 
While I my banjo play: 

He sleep all day, he wake all night; 
He full of care, his heart no light; 
He great deal want, he little get ; 
He sorry, so he fret. 

" Me envy not the white man here, 

Though he so proud and gay ; 
He great, he proud, he haughty fine, 
While I my banjo play: 

Me work all day, me sleep all night; 
Me have no care, me heart is light ; 
Me think not what to-morrow bring ; 
Me happy, so me sing. " 

Lisette rattled the strings of the banjo, and sang with 
such a hearty abandon of enjoyment that it was a comfort 
to look at her. One would have thought that a bird s soul 
put into a woman s body would have sung just so. 

"There," she said, throwing down her banjo, and seat 
ing herself on her husband s knee, "do you know, I think 
you are like white man in the song? I should like to 
know what is the matter with you. I can see plain enough 
when you are not happy; but I don t see why." 

"Oh, Lisette, I have very perplexing business to man 
age," said Harry. "Miss Nina is a dear, good little 
mistress, but she doesn t know anything about accounts, 
or money ; and here she has brought me home a set of bills 
to settle, and I m sure I don t know where the money is 


to be got from. It s hard work to make the old place 
profitable in our days. The ground is pretty much worked 
up; it doesn t bear the crops it used to. And then, our 
people are so childish, they don t, a soul of them, care 
how much they spend, or how carelessly they work. It s 
very expensive keeping up such an establishment. You 
know the Gordons must be Gordons. Things can t be 
done now as some other families would do them; and 
then, those bills which Miss Nina brings from New York 
are perfectly frightful." 

" Well, Harry, what are you going to do ? " said Lisette, 
nestling down close on his shoulder. "You always know 
how to do something." 

"Why, Lisette, I shall have to do what I ve done two 
or three times before take the money that I have saved, 
to pay these bills our freedom money, Lisette. " 

"Oh, well, then, don t worry. We can get it again, 
you know. Why, you know, Harry, you can make a good 
deal with your trade, and one thing and another that you 
do; and then, as for me, why, you know, my ironing, 
and my muslins, how celebrated they are. Come, don t 
worry one bit; we shall get on nicely." 

" Ah ! But, Lisette, all this pretty house of ours, gar 
den, and everything, is only built on air, after all, till we 
are free. Any accident can take it from us. Now, there s 
Miss Nina; she is engaged, she tells me, to two or three 
lovers, as usual." 

" Engaged, is she 1 " said Lisette eagerly, female curi 
osity getting the better of every other consideration; "she 
always did have lovers, just, you know, as I used to." 

"Yes; but, Lisette, she will marry, some time, and 
what a thing that would be for you and me ! On her hus 
band will depend all my happiness for all my life. He 
may set her against me ; he may not like me. Oh, Lisette ! 
I ve seen trouble enough coming of marriages; and I was 

70 DEED 

hoping, you see, that before that time came the money for 
my freedom would all be paid in, and I should be my 
own man. But now, here it is. Just as the sum is 
almost made up, I must pay out five hundred dollars of it, 
and that throws us back two or three years longer. And 
what makes me feel the most anxious is, that I in pretty 
sure Miss Nina will marry one of these lovers before long. " 

"Why, what makes you think so, Harry? " 

"Oh, I ve seen girls before now, Lisette, and I know 
the signs." 

" What does she do ? What does she say 1 Tell me, 
now, Harry." 

"Oh, well, she runs on abusing the man, after her sort; 
and she s so very earnest and positive in telling me she 
don t like him." 

"Just the way I used to do about you, Harry, is n t it ? " 

"Besides," said Harry, "I know, by the kind of charac 
ter she gives of him, that she thinks of him very differ 
ently from what she ever did of any man before. Miss 
Nina little knows, when she is rattling about her beaux, 
what I m thinking of. I m saying, all the while, to 
myself, * Is that man going to be my master 1 and this 
Clayton, I m very sure, is going to be my master." 

"Well, isn t he a good man? " 

"She says he is; but there s never any saying what 
good men will do, never. Good men think it right some 
times to do the strangest things. This man may alter the 
whole agreement between us, he will have a right to do 
it, if he is her husband; he may refuse to let me buy 
myself; and then, all the money that I ve paid will go 
for nothing." 

"But, certainly, Harry, Miss Nina will never consent 
to such a thing." 

"Lisette, Miss Nina is one thing, but Mrs. Clayton may 
be quite another thing. I ve seen all that, over and over 


again. I tell you, Lisette, that we who live on other 
people s looks and words, we watch and think a great deal! 
Ah ! we come to be very sharp, I can tell you. The more 
Miss Nina has liked me, the less her husband may like 
me; don t you know that? " 

"No; Harry, you don t dislike people I like." 
"Child, child, that s quite another thing." 
"Well, then, Harry, if you feel so bad about it, what 
makes you pay this money for Miss Nina? She don t 
know anything about it; she don t ask you to. I don t 
believe she would want you to, if she did know it. Just 
go and pay it in, and have your freedom papers made out. 
Why don t you tell her all about it? " 

"No, I can t, Lisette. I ve had the care of her all her 
life, and I ve made it as smooth as I could for her, and I 
won t begin to trouble, her now. Do you know, too, that 
I m afraid that, perhaps, if she knew all about it, she 
wouldn t do the right thing. There s never any know 
ing, Lisette. Now, you see, I say to myself, Poor little 
thing! she doesn t know anything about accounts, and she 
don t know how I feel. But if I should tell her, and 
she shouldn t care, and act as I ve seen women act, why, 
then, you know I couldn t think so any more. I don t 
believe she would mind you; but then, I don t like to try." 
" Harry, what does make you love her so much ? " 
"Don t you know, Lisette, that Master Tom was a 
dreadful bad boy, always willful and wayward, almost 
broke his father s heart; and he was always ugly and con 
trary to her? I m sure I don t know why; for she was 
a sweet little thing, and she loves him now, ugly as he is, 
and he is the most selfish creature I ever saw. And as 
for Miss Nina, she isn t selfish she is only inconsider 
ate. But I ve known her do for him, over and over, 
just what I do for her, giving him her money and her 
jewels to help him out of a scrape. But then, to be sure, 

72 DRED 

it all comes upon me, at last, which makes it all the more 
aggravating. Now, Lisette, I m going to tell you some 
thing, but you mustn t tell anybody. Nina Gordon is my 
sister ! " 


"Yes, Lisette, you may well open your eyes," said 
Harry, rising involuntarily; "1 m Colonel Gordon s oldest 
son ! Let me have the comfort of saying it once, if I 
never do again." 

"Harry, who told you? " 

"He told me, Lisette he, himself, told me, when he 
was dying, and charged me always to watch over her; and 
I have done it! I never told Miss Nina; I wouldn t have 
her told for the world. It wouldn t make her love me; 
more likely it would turn her against me. I ve seen many 
a man sold for nothing else but looking too much like his 
father, or his brothers and sisters. I was given to her, 
and my sister and my mother went out to Mississippi with 
Miss Nina s aunt." 

"I never heard you speak of this sister, Harry. Was 
she pretty 1 " 

"Lisette, she was beautiful, she was graceful, and she 
had real genius. I ve heard many singers on the stage 
that could not sing, with all their learning, as she did by 
nature. " 

"Well, what became of her? " 

"Oh, what becomes of such women always, among us! 
Nursed, and petted, and caressed; taught everything ele 
gant, nothing solid. Why, the woman meant well enough 
that had the care of her, Mrs. Stewart, Colonel Gordon s 
sister, but she couldn t prevent her son s wanting her, 
and taking her, for his mistress; and when she died there 
she was." 


"When George Stewart had lived with her two or three 


years, he was taken with smallpox. You know what per- 
feet horror that always creates. None of his white acquaint 
ances and friends would come near his plantation; the 
negroes were all frightened to death, as usual; overseer 
ran off. Well, then Cora Gordon s blood came up; she 
nursed him all through that sickness. What s more, she 
had influence to keep order on the place; got the people to 
getting the cotton crops themselves, so that when the over 
seer came sneaking back, things hadn t all gone to ruin, 
as they might have done. Well, the young fellow had 
more in him than some of them do; for when he got well 
he left his plantation, took her up to Ohio, and married 
her, and lived with her there." 

"Why didn t he live with her on his plantation? " said 

"He couldn t have freed her there; it s against the 
laws. But, lately, I ve got a letter from her saying that 
he had died and left to her and her son all his property on 
the Mississippi." 

"Why, she will be rich, won t she? " 

"Yes, if she gets it. But there s no knowing how that 
will be; there are fifty ways of cheating her out of it, I 
suppose. But now, as to Miss Nina s estate, you don t 
know how I feel about it. I was trusted with it, and 
trusted with her. She never has known, more than a 
child, where the money came from, or went to; and it 
sha n t be said that I ve brought the estate in debt for the 
sake of getting my own liberty. If I have one pride in 
life, it is to give it up to Miss Nina s husband in good 
order. But then, the trouble of it, Lisette ! The trouble 
of getting anything like decent work from these creatures; 
the ways that I have to turn and twist to get round them, 
and manage them, to get anything done. They hate me; 
they are jealous of me. Lisette, I m just like the bat in 
the fable; I m neither bird nor beast. How often I ve 

74 DEED 

wished that I was a good, honest, black nigger, like Uncle 
Pomp! Then I should know what I was; but now, I m 
neither one thing nor another. I come just near enough 
to the condition of the white to look into it, to enjoy it, 
and want everything that I see. Then the way I ve 
been educated makes it worse. The fact is, that when 
the fathers of such as we feel any love for us, it isn t like 
the love they have for their white children. They are 
half ashamed of us ; they are ashamed to show their love, 
if they have it; and then, there s a kind of remorse and 
pity about it, which they make up to themselves by petting 
us. They load us with presents and indulgences. They 
amuse themselves with us while we are children, and play 
off all our passions as if we were instruments to be played 
on. If we show talent and smartness, we hear some one 
say, aside, It s rather a pity, isn t it? or, He is too 
smart for his place. Then, we have all the family blood 
and the family pride; and what to do with it 1 ? I feel that 
I am a Gordon. I feel in my very heart that I m like 
Colonel Gordon I know I am, and sometimes, I know I 
look like him, and that s one reason why Tom Gordon 
always hated me; and then, there s another thing, the 
hardest of all, to have a sister like Miss Nina, to feel she 
is my sister, and never dare to say a word of it! She 
little thinks, when she plays and jokes with me, some 
times, how I feel. I have eyes and senses; I can compare 
myself with Tom Gordon. I know he never would learn 
anything at any of the schools he was put to; and I know 
that when his tutors used to teach me, how much faster 
I got along than he did. And yet he must have all the 
position, and all the respect; and then, Miss Nina so 
often says to me, by way of apology, when she puts up 
with his ugliness, Ah ! well, you know, Harry, he is the 
only brother I have got in the world ! Is n t it too bad ? 
Colonel Gordon gave me every advantage of education, 


because I think he meant me for just this place which I 
fill. Miss Nina was his pet. He was wholly absorbed in 
her, and he was frightened at Tom s wickedness; and so 
he left me bound to the estate in this way, only stipulating 
that I should buy myself on favorable terms before Miss 
Nina s marriage. She has always been willing enough. 
I might have taken any and every advantage of her incon- 
siderateness. And Mr. John Gordon has been willing, 
too, and has been very kind about it, and has signed an 
agreement as guardian, and Miss Nina has signed it too, 
that, in case of her death, or whatever happened, I m to 
have my freedom on paying a certain sum, and I have got 
his receipts for what I have paid. So that s tolerably 
safe. Lisette, I had meant never to have been married 
till I was a free man; but, somehow, you bewitched me 
into it. I did very wrong." 

"Oh, pshaw! pshaw!" interrupted Lisette. "I ain t 
going to hear another word of this talk! What s the use? 
We shall do well enough. Everything will come out right, 
you see if it don t, now. I was always lucky, and I 
always shall be." 

The conversation was here interrupted by a loud whoop 
ing, and a clatter of horse s heels. 

"What s that?" said Harry, starting to the window. 
"As I live, now, if there isn t that wretch of a Tomtit, 
going off with that horse ! How came he here 1 He will 
ruin him ! Stop there ! hallo ! " he exclaimed, running 
out of doors after Tomtit. 

Tomtit, however, only gave a triumphant whoop, and 
disappeared among the pine-trees. 

" Well, I should like to know what sent him here ! " 
said Harry, walking up and down, much disturbed. 

"Oh, he s only going round through the grove; he will 
be back again," said Lisette; "never fear. Isn t he a 
handsome little rogue 1 " 

76 DEED 

"Lisette, you never can see trouble anywhere!" said 
Harry, almost angrily. 

"Ah! yes I do," said Lisette, "when you speak in that 
tone! Please don t, Harry. What should you want me 
to see trouble for 1 " 

"I don t know, you little thing," said Harry, stroking 
her head fondly. 

"Ah, there comes the little rascal, just as I knew he 
would ! " said Lisette. " He only wanted to take a little 
race; he hasn t hurt the horse;" and tripping lightly 
out, she caught the reins, just as Tomtit drove up to the 
gate; and it seemed but a moment before he was over in 
the garden, with his hands full of flowers. 

"Stop, there, you young rascal, and tell me what sent 
you here ! " said Harry, seizing him, and shaking him by 
the shoulder. 

"Laws, Massa Harry, I wants to get peaches, like other 
folks," said the boy, peeping roguishly in at the window, 
at the tea-table. 

"And he shall have a peach, too," said Lisette, "and 
some flowers, if he 11 be a good boy, and not tread on my 
borders. " 

Tomtit seized greedily at the peach she gave him, and 
sitting flat down where he stood, and throwing the flowers 
on the ground beside him, began eating it with an earnest 
ness of devotion as if his whole being were concentrated in 
the act. The color was heightened in his brown cheek by 
the exercise, and with his long, drooping curls and eye 
lashes, he looked a very pretty centre to the flower-piece 
which he had so promptly improvised. 

"Ah, how pretty he is!" said Lisette, touching Harry s 
elbow. "I wish he was mine! " 

"You d have your hands full, if he was," said Harry, 
eying the intruder discontentedly, while Lisette stood pick 
ing the hulls from a fine bunch of strawberries which she 
was ready to give him when he had finished the peach. 


"Beauty makes fools of all you girls," said Harry cyni 

"Is that the reason I married you?" said Lisette 
archly. "Well, I know I could make him good, if I had 
the care of him. Nothing like coaxing ; is there, Tom ? " 

"I 11 boun there ain t!" said Tom, opening his mouth 
for the strawberries with much the air of a handsome, 
saucy robin. 

"Well," said Harry, "I should like to know what 
brought him over here. Speak, now, Tom! Weren t 
you sent with some message 1 " 

"Oh laws, yes!" said Tom, getting up and scratching 
his curly head. "Miss Nina sent me. She wants you to 
get on dat ar horse, and make tracks for home like split 
foot. She done got letters from two or three of her beaux, 
and she is dancing and tearing round there real awful. She 
done got scared, spects; feard they d all come together." 

"And she sent you on a message, and you haven t told 
me, all this time ! " said Harry, making a motion as though 
he was going to box the child s ears; but the boy glided 
out of his hands as if he had been water, and was gone, 
vanishing among the shrubbery of the garden; and while 
Harry was mounting his horse, he reappeared on the roof 
of the little cabin, caracoling and dancing, shouting at the 
topmost of his voice, 

" Away down old Virginny, 
Dere I bought a yellow girl for a guinea." 

"I ll give it to you, some time!" said Harry, shaking 
his fist at him. 

"No, he won t, either," cried Lisette, laughing. "Come 
down here, Tomtit, and I 11 make a good boy of you." 



IN order to understand the occasion which hurried 
Harry home, we must go back to Canema. Nina, after 
taking her letters from the hands of Tomtit, as we have 
related, ran back with them into Mrs. Nesbit s room, and 
sat herself down to read them. As she read, she evidently 
became quite excited and discomposed, crumpling a paper 
with her little hand, and tapping her foot impatiently on 
the carpet. 

"There, now, I m sure I don t know what I shall do, 
Aunt Nesbit ! " addressing her aunt, because it was her 
outspoken habit to talk to any body or thing which hap 
pened to be sitting next to her. "I ve got myself into 
a pretty scrape now ! " 

"I told you you d get into trouble, one of these days! " 

"Oh, you told me so! If there s anything I hate, it is 
to have anybody tell me I told you so ! But now, aunt, 
really, I know I ve been foolish, but I don t know what 
to do. Here are two gentlemen coming together, that I 
wouldn t have meet each other here for the world; and I 
don t know really what I had better do." 

"You d better do just as you please, as you always do, 
and always would, ever since I knew you," said Aunt 
Nesbit, in a calm, indifferent tone. 

"But, really, aunt, I don t know what s proper to do 
in such a case." 

" Your and my notions of propriety, Nina, are so differ 
ent, that I don t know how to advise you. You see the 


consequences, now, of not attending to the advice of your 
friends. I always knew these flirtations of yours would 
bring you into trouble." And Aunt Nesbit said this with 
that quiet, satisfied air with which precise elderly people 
so often edify their thoughtless young friends under diffi 

"Well, I didn t want a sermon, now, Aunt Nesbit; 
but as you ve seen a great deal more of the world than I 
have, I thought you might help me a little, just to tell me 
whether it wouldn t be proper for me to write and put one 
of these gentlemen off; or make some excuse for me, or 
something. I m sure /never kept house before. I don t 
want to do anything that don t seem hospitable; and yet 
I don t want them to come together. Now, there, that s 

There was a long pause, in which Nina sat vexed and 
coloring, biting her lips, and nestling uneasily in her seat. 

Mrs. Nesbit looked calm and considerate, and Nina 
began to hope that she was taking the case a little to heart. 

At last the good old lady looked up, and said, very 
quietly, "I wonder what time it is." 

Nina thought she was debating the expediency of send 
ing some message ; and therefore she crossed the room with 
great alacrity, to look at the old clock in the entry. 

"It s half past two, aunt!" and she stood, with her 
lips apart, looking at Mrs. Nesbit for some suggestion. 

I was going to tell Rosa," said she abstractedly, "that 
that onion in the stuffing does not agree with me. It rose 
on my stomach all yesterday morning; but it s too late 

Nina actually stamped with anger. 

"Aunt Nesbit, you are the most selfish person I ever 
saw in my life ! " 

"Nina, child, you astonish me!" said Aunt Nesbit, 
with her wonted placidity. "What s the matter? " 

80 DEED 

"I don t care!" said Nina; "I don t care a bit! I 
don t see how people can be so! If a dog should come to 
me and tell me he was in trouble, I think I should listen 
to him, arid show some kind of interest to help him! I 
don t care how foolish anybody has been; if they are in 
trouble, I d help them, if I could; and I think you might 
think enough of it to give me some little advice ! " 

"Oh, you are talking about that affair, yet?" said her 
aunt. "Why, I believe I told you I didn t know what 
to advise, didn t II Shouldn t give way to this temper, 
Nina; it s very unladylike, besides being sinful. But 
then, I don t suppose it s any use for me to talk! " And 
Aunt Nesbit, with an abused air, got up, walked quietly 
to the looking-glass, took off her morning-cap, unlocked 
her drawer, and laid it in; took out another, which Nina 
could not see differed a particle from the last, held it up 
thoughtfully on her hand, and appeared absorbed in the 
contemplation of it, while Nina, swelling with a mixture 
of anger and mortification, stood regarding her as she lei 
surely picked out each bow, and finally, with a decorous 
air of solemnity, arranged it upon her head, patting it 
tenderly down. 

"Aunt Nesbit," she said suddenly, as if the words hurt 
her, "I think I spoke improperly, and I m very sorry for 
it. I beg your pardon." 

"Oh, it s no matter, child; I didn t care about it. 
I m pretty well used to your temper." 

Bang went the door, and in a moment Nina stood in 
the entry, shaking her fist at it with impotent wrath. 

"You stony, stiff, disagreeable old creature! how came 
you ever to be my mother s sister? " And with the word 
mother, she burst into a tempest of tears, and rushed vio 
lently to her own chamber. The first object that she saw 
was Milly, arranging some clothes in her drawer; and to 
her astonishment, Nina rushed up to her, and throwing 


her arms round her neck, sobbed and wept in such tumult 
uous excitement that the good creature was alarmed. 

"Laws bless my soul, my dear little lamb! what s the 
matter? Why, don t! Don t, honey! Why, bless the 
dear little soul! bless the dear precious lamb! who s been 
a-hurting of it 1 " And at each word of endearment, 
Nina s distress broke out afresh, and she sobbed so bitterly 
that the faithful creature really began to be frightened. 

"Laws, Miss Nina, I hope there ain t nothing happened 
to you now ! " 

"No, no, nothing, Milly, only I am lonesome, and I 
want my mother! I haven t got any mother! Dear 
me ! " she said, with a fresh burst. 

"Ah, the poor thing!" said Milly compassionately, 
sitting down, and fondling Nina in her arms, as if she had 
been a babe. "Poor chile! Laws, yes; I member your 
ma was a beautiful woman ! " 

"Yes," said Nina, speaking between her sobs, "the 
girls at school had mothers. And there was Mary Brooks, 
she used to read to me her mother s letters, and I used 
to feel so, all the while, to think nobody wrote such letters 
to me! And there s Aunt Nesbit I don t care what 
they say about her being religious, she is the most selfish, 
hateful creature I ever did see! I do believe, if I was 
lying dead and laid out in the next room to her, she would 
be thinking what she d get next for dinner! " 

"Oh, don t, my poor lamb, don t!" said Milly compas 

"Yes, I will, too! She s always taking it for granted 
that I m the greatest sinner on the face of the earth! 
She don t scold me she don t care enough about me to 
scold ! She only takes it for granted, in her hateful, quiet 
way, that I m going to destruction, and that she can t 
help it, and don t care! Supposing I m not good! 
what s to make me good? Is it going to make me good 

VOL. I. 

82 DEED 

for people to sit up so stiff, and tell me they always knew 
I was a fool, and a flirt, and all that? Milly, I ve had 
dreadful turns of wanting to be good, and I ve laid awake 
nights and cried because I wasn t good. And what makes 
it worse, is that I think if mamma was alive she could 
help me. She wasn t like Aunt Nesbit, was she, Milly? " 

"No, honey, she wasn t. I ll tell you about your ma 
some time, honey." 

"The worst of it is," said Nina, "when Aunt Nesbit 
speaks to me in her hateful way, I get angry; then I 
speak in a way that isn t proper, I know. Oh, if she 
only would get angry with me back again! or if she d do 
anything in the world but stand still, in her still way, 
telling me she is astonished at me! That s a lie, too; for 
she never was astonished at anything in her life! She 
has n t life enough to be ! " 

"Ah, Miss Nina, we mustn t spect more of folks than 
there is in them." 

"Expect? I don t expect!" 

"Well, bless you, honey, when you knows what folks 
is, don t let s worry. Ye can t fill a quart cup out of a 
thimble, honey, no way you can fix it. There s just whar 
tis. I knowed your ma, and I s knowed Miss Loo, ever 
since she was a girl. Pears like they wa n t no more alike 
than snow is like sugar. Miss Loo, when she was a girl, 
she was that pretty that everybody was wondering after 
her; but to de love, dat ar went after your ma. Couldn t 
tell why it was, honey. Feared like Miss Loo wa n t 
techy, nor she wa n t one of your bursting-out sort, scolding 
round. Feared like she d never hurt nobody; and yet 
our people, they could n t none of dem bar her. Feared 
like nobody did nothing for her with a will." 

"Well, good reason!" said Nina; "she never did any 
thing for anybody else with a will ! She never cared for 
anybody! Now, I m selfish; I always knew it, I do a 


great many selfish things; but it s a different kind from 
hers. Do you know, Milly, she don t seem to know she 
is selfish? There she sits, rocking in her old chair, so 
sure she s going straight to heaven, and don t care whether 
anybody else gets there or not ! " 

"Oh laws, now, Miss Nina, you s too hard on her. 
Why, look how patient she sits with Tomtit, teaching him 
his hymns and varses." 

"And you think that s because she cares anything about 
him? Do you know, she thinks he isn t fit to go to 
heaven, and that if he dies he 11 go to the bad place. 
And yet, if he was to die to-morrow, she d talk to you 
about clear-starching her caps! No wonder the child don t 
love her ! She talks to him just as she does to me ; tells 
him she don t expect anything of him she knows he ll 
never come to any good; and the little wretch has got it 
by heart, now. Do you know that, though I get in a pas 
sion with Tom, sometimes, and though I m sure I should 
perish sitting boring with him over those old books, yet 
I really believe I care more for him than she does ? And 
he knows it, too. He sees through her as plain as I do. 
You 11 never make me believe that Aunt Nesbit has got 
religion. I know there is such a thing as religion; but 
she hasn t got it. It isn t all being sober, and crackling 
old stiff religious newspapers, and boring with texts and 
hymns, that makes people religious. She is just as 
worldly minded as I am, only it s in another way. There, 
now, I wanted her to advise me about something, to-day. 
Why, Milly, all girls want somebody to talk with ; and if 
she d only showed the least interest in what I said, she 
might scold me and lecture me as much as she d a mind 
to. But to have her not even hear me ! And when she 
must have seen that I was troubled and perplexed, and 
wanted somebody to advise me, she turned round so cool, 
and began to talk about the onions and the stuffing ! Got 

84 DEED 

me so angry ! I suppose she is in her room, now, rocking, 
and thinking what a sinner I am ! " 

"Well, now, Miss Nina, pears though you ve talked 
enough about dat ar; pears like it won t make you feel 
no better." 

" Yes it does make me feel better ! I had to speak to 
somebody, Milly, or else I should have burst; and now I 
wonder where Harry is. He always could find a way for 
me out of anything." 

"He is gone over to see his wife, I think, Miss Nina." 

" Oh, too bad ! Do send Tomtit after him, right away. 
Tell him that I want him to come right home, this very 
minute something very particular. And, Milly, you 
just go and tell Old Hundred to get out the carriage and 
horses, and I 11 go over and drop a note in the post-office, 
myself. I won t trust it to Tomtit; for I know he 11 
lose it." 

"Miss Nina," said Milly, looking hesitatingly, "I 
spect you don t know how things go about round here; 
but the fact is, Old Hundred has got so kind of cur ous, 
lately, there can t nobody do nothing with him, except 
Harry. Don t tend to do nothing Miss Loo tells him to. 
I s feard he 11 make up some story or other about the 
horses; but he won t get em out now, mind, I tell 
you, chile ! " 

"He won t! I should like to know if he won t, when 
I tell him to ! A pretty story that would be ! I 11 soon 
teach him that he has a live mistress somebody quite 
different from Aunt Loo ! " 

"Well, well, chile, perhaps you d better go. He 
wouldn t mind me, I know. Maybe he 11 do it for you." 

"Oh yes; I ll just run down to his house, and hurry 
him up." And Nina, quite restored to her usual good 
humor, tripped gayly across to the cabin of Old Hundred, 
that stood the other side of the house. 


Old Hundred s true name was, in fact, John. But he 
had derived the appellation, by which he was always 
known, from the extreme moderation of all his movements. 
Old Hundred had a double share of that profound sense of 
the dignity of his office which is an attribute of the tribe 
of coachmen in general. He seemed to consider the horses 
and carriage as a sort of family ark, of which he was the 
high priest, and which it was his business to save from 
desecration. According to his own showing, all the people 
on the plantation, and indeed the whole world in general, 
were in a state of habitual conspiracy against the family 
carriage and horses, and he was standing for them, single- 
handed, at the risk of his life. It was as much part of 
his duty, in virtue of his office, to show cause, on every 
occasion, why the carriage should not be used, as it is for 
state attorneys to undertake prosecutions. And it was 
also a part of the accomplishment of his situation to con 
duct his refusal in the most decorous manner; always 
showing that it was only the utter impossibility of the case 
which prevented. The available grounds of refusal Old 
Hundred had made a life- study, and had always a store of 
them cut and dried for use, all ready at a moment s notice. 
In the first place, there were always a number of impossi 
bilities with regard to the carriage. Either "it was muddy, 
and he was laying out to wash it;" or else "he had 
washed it, and couldn t have it splashed;" or "he had 
taken out the back curtain, and had laid out to put a stitch 
in it, one of dese yer days ; " or there was something the 
matter with the irons. "He reckoned they was a little 
bit sprung." "He lowed he d ask the blacksmith about 
it, some of dese yer times." And then as to the horses 
the possibilities were rich and abundant. What with 
strains, and loose shoes, and stones getting in at the 
hoofs, dangers of all sorts of complaints, for which he had 
his own vocabulary of names, it was next to an impossi- 

86 DEED 

bility, according to any ordinary rule of computing chances, 
that the two should be in complete order together. 

Utterly ignorant, however, of the magnitude of the 
undertaking which she was attempting, and buoyant with 
the consciousness of authority, Nina tripped singing along, 
and found Old Hundred tranquilly reclining in his tent- 
door, watching through his half-shut eyes, while the after 
noon sunbeam irradiated the smoke which rose from the 
old pipe between his teeth. A large, black, one-eyed 
crow sat perching, with a quizzical air, upon his knee, and 
when he heard Nina s footsteps approaching, cocked his 
remaining eye towards her, with a smart, observing atti 
tude, as if he had been deputed to look out for applications 
while his master dozed. Between this crow, who had 
received the sobriquet of Uncle Jeff, and his master there 
existed a most particular bond of friendship and amity. 
This was further strengthened by the fact that they were 
both equally disliked by all the inhabitants of the place. 
Like many people who are called to stand in responsible 
positions, Old Hundred had rather failed in the humble 
virtues, and become dogmatical and dictatorial to that de 
gree that nobody but his own wife could do anything with 
him. And as to Jeff, if the principle of thievery could 
be incarnate, he might have won a temple among the Lace 
demonians. In various skirmishes and battles consequent 
on his misdeeds, Jeff had lost an eye, and had a consider 
able portion of the feathers scalded off on one side of his 
head; while the remaining ones, discomposed by the inci 
dent, ever after stood up in a protesting attitude, impart 
ing something still more sinister to his goblin appearance. 
In another rencounter he had received a permanent twist in 
the neck, which gave him always the appearance of looking 
over his shoulder, and added not a little to the oddity of 
the general effect. Uncle Jeff thieved with an assiduity 
and skill which were worthy of a better cause, and when 


not upon any serious enterprise of this kind, employed his 
time in pulling up corn, scratching up newly planted 
flower seeds, tangling yarn, pulling out knitting-needles, 
pecking the eyes of sleeping people, scratching and biting 
children, and any other little miscellaneous mischief which 
occurred to him. He was invaluable to Old Hundred, 
because he was a standing apology for any and all discov 
eries made on his premises of things which ought not to 
have been there. No matter what was brought to light, 
whether spoons from the great house, or a pair of sleeve- 
buttons, or a handkerchief, or a pipe from a neighboring 
cabin, Jeff was always called up to answer. Old Hun 
dred regularly scolded, on these occasions, and declared he 
was enough to "spile the character of any man s house." 
And Jeff would look at him comically over the shoulder, 
and wink his remaining eye, as much as to say that the 
scolding was a settled thing between them, and that he 
wasn t going to take it at all in ill part. 

"Uncle John," said Nina, "I want you to get the car 
riage out for me, right away. I want to take a ride over 
the cross run." 

"Laws bless you sweet face, honey, chile, I s dreadful 
sorry; but you can t do it dis yer day." 

"Can t do it! Why not?" 

"Why, bless you, chile, it ain t possible, noway. Can t 
have the carriage and bosses dis yer arternoon." 

" But I must go over to cross run to the post-office. I 
must go this minute ! " 

"Law, chile, you can t do it! fur you can t walk, and 
it s sartain you can t ride, because dese yer hosses, nor dis 
yer carriage, can t stir out dis yer arternoon, no way you 
can fix it. Mout go, perhaps, to-morrow, or next week." 

"Oh, Uncle John, I don t believe a word of it! I 
want them this afternoon, and I say I must have them ! " 

"No, you can t, chile," said Old Hundred, in a tender, 

88 DRED 

condescending tone, as if he was speaking to a baby. "I 
tell you dat ar is impossible. Why, bless your soul, Miss 
Nina, de curtains is all off de carriage ! " 

"Well, put them on again, then!" 

"Ah, Miss Nina, dat ar ain t all. Pete was desperate 
sick, last night; took with de thumps, powerful bad. 
Why, Miss Nina, he was dat sick I had to be up with him 
most all night ! " And while Old Hundred thus adroitly 
issued this little work of fiction, the raven nodded wag 
gishly at Nina, as much as to say, " You hear that fellow, 
now ! " 

Nina stood quite perplexed, biting her lips, and Old 
Hundred seemed to go into a profound slumber. 

"I don t believe but what the horses can go to-day! I 
mean to go and look." 

"Laws, honey, chile, ye can t, now; de do s is all 
locked, and I ve got de key in my pocket. Every one 
of dem critturs would have been killed forty times over 
fore now. I think everybody in dis yer world is arter 
dem dar critturs. Miss Loo, she s wanting em to go one 
way, and Harry s allers usin de critturs. Got one out, 
dis yer arternoon, riding over to see his wife. Don t see 
no use in his riding round so grand, noway ! Laws, Miss 
Nina, your pa used to say to me, says he, LTncle John, 
you knows more about dem critturs dan I do; and now 
I tell you what it is, Uncle John you take care of dem 
critturs; don t you let nobody kill em for nothing. 
Now, Miss Nina, I s always a- walking in the steps of the 
colonel s rections. Now, good, clar, bright weather, over 
good roads, I likes to trot the critturs out. Dat ar is rea 
sonable. But den, what roads is over the cross run, I 
want to know? Dem dere roads is de most mis ablest 
things you ever did see. Mud! Hi! Ought for to see 
de mud down dar by de creek ! Why, de bridge all tared 
off! Man drowned in dat dar creek once! Was so! It 


ain t no sort of road for young ladies to go over. Tell 
you, Miss Nina; why don you let Harry carry your letter 
over? If he must be ridin round de country, don t see 
why he couldn t do some good wid his ridin . Why, de 
carriage would n t get over before ten o clock, dis yer 
night! Now, mine, I tell you. Besides, it s gwine fur 
to rain. I s been feeling dat ar in my corns, all dis yer 
morning; and Jeff, he s been acting like the berry debil 
hisself de way he always does fore it rains. Never 
knowed dat ar sign to fail." 

"The short of the matter is, Uncle John, you are deter 
mined not to go," said Nina. "But I tell you you shall 
go f there, now ! Now, do you get up immediately, and 
get out those horses ! " 

Old Hundred still sat quiet, smoking; and Nina, after 
reiterating her orders till she got thoroughly angry, began, 
at last, to ask herself the question, how she was going to 
carry them into execution. Old Hundred appeared to 
have descended into himself in a profound reverie, and 
betrayed not the smallest sign of hearing anything she 

"I wish Harry would come back quick," she said to 
herself as she pensively retraced her steps through the gar 
den; but Tomtit had taken the commission to go for him 
in his usual leisurely way, spending the greater part of the 
afternoon on the road. 

"Now, ain t you ashamed of yourself, you mean old 
nigger ! " said Aunt Kose, the wife of Old Hundred, who 
had been listening to the conversation; "talking bout de 
creek, and de mud, and de critturs, and Lor knows what 
all, when we all knows it s nothing but your laziness ! " 

"Well," said Old Hundred, "and what would come o 
the critturs if I wasn t lazy, I want to know? Laziness! 
it s the berry best thing for the critturs can be. Where d 
dem horses a been now, if I had been one of your highfa- 

90 DEED 

lutin sort, always driving round? Where d dey a been, 
and what would dey a been, hey? Who wants to see 
hosses all skin and bone ? Lord ! if I had been like some 
o de coachmen, de buzzards would have had the picking 
of dem critturs, long ago ! " 

"I rally believe that you ve told dem dar lies till you 
begin to believe them yourself! " said Rose. "Telling our 
dear, sweet young lady about your being up with Pete all 
night, when de Lord knows you laid here snoring fit to tar 
de roof off!" 

"Well, must say something! Polks must be spectful 
to de ladies. Course I couldn t tell her I wouldn t take 
de critturs out; so I just trots out scuse. Ah! lots of 
dem scuses I keeps ! I tell you, now, scuses is excellent 
things. Why, scuses is like dis yer grease that keeps de 
wheels from screaking. Lord bless you, de whole world 
turns round on scuses. Whar de world be if everybody 
was such fools to tell the raal reason for everything they 
are gwine fur to do, or ain t gwine fur to! " 



"On, Harry, I m so glad to see you back! In such 
trouble as I ve been to-day! Don t you think, this very 
morning, as I was sitting in Aunt Nesbit s room, Tomtit 
brought up these two letters; and one of them is from 
Clayton, and the other from Mr. Carson; and now, see 
here what Clayton says : I shall have business that will 
take me in your vicinity next week; and it is quite possi 
ble, unless I hear from you to the contrary, that you may 
see me at Canema next Friday or Saturday. Well, then, 
see here; there s another from Mr. Carson, that hateful 
Carson! Now, you see, he hasn t got my letter; says he 
is coming. What impudence! I m tired to death of that 
creature, and he 11 be here just as certain ! Disagreeable peo 
ple always do keep their promises ! He 11 certainly be here ! " 

"Well, Miss Nina, you recollect you said you thought 
it would be good fun." 

"Oh, Harry, don t bring that up, I beg of you! The 
fact is, Harry, I ve altered my mind about that. You 
know I ve put a stop to all those foolish things at once, 
and am done with them. You know I wrote to Carson 
and Emmons, both, that my sentiments had changed, and 
all that sort of thing, that the girls always say. I m going 
to dismiss all of em at once, and have no more fooling." 

"What, all? Mr. Clayton and all? 

"Well, I don t know, exactly, no. Do you know, 
Harry, I think his letters are rather improving ? at least, 
they are different letters from any I ve got before; and 

92 DEED 

though I don t think I shall break my heart after him, yet 
I like to get them. But the other two I m sick to death 
of; and as for having that creature boring round here, I 
won t! At any rate, I don t want him and Clayton here 
together. I would n t have them together for the world; 
and I wrote a letter to keep Carson off, this morning, and 
I ve been in trouble all day. Everybody has plagued me. 
Aunt Nesbit only gave me one of her mopy lectures about 
flirting, and would n t help me in the least. And then, 
Old Hundred: I wanted him to get out the carriage and 
horses for me to go over and put this letter in the office, 
and I never saw such a creature in my life! I can t make 
him do anything! I should like to know what the use is 
of having servants, if you can t get anything done ! " 

"Oh, as to Old Hundred, I understand him, and he 
understands me," said Harry. "I never find any trouble 
with him ; but he is a provoking old creature. He stands 
very much on the dignity of his office. But if you want 
your letter carried to-night, I can contrive a safer way 
than that, if you 11 trust it to me." 

"Ah! well, do take it!" 

"Yes," said Harry, "I ll send a messenger across on 
horseback, and I have means to make him faithful." 

" Well, Harry, Harry ! " said Nina, catching at his 
sleeve as he was going out, "come back again, won t you? 
I want to talk to you." 

During Harry s absence, our heroine drew a letter from 
her bosom, and read it over. 

" How well he writes ! " she said to herself. " So dif 
ferent from the rest of them! I wish he d keep away 
from here, that s what I do! It s a pretty thing to 
get his letters, but I don t think I want to see him. Oh, 
dear ! I wish I had somebody to talk to about it Aunt 
Nesbit is so cross! I can t no, I won t care about him! 
Harry is a kind soul." 


" Ah, Harry, have you sent the letter ? " said she eagerly 
as he entered. 

"I have, Miss Nina; but I can t natter you too much. 
I m afraid it s too late for the mail though there s 
never any saying when the mail goes out, within two or 
three hours." 

"Well, I hope it will stay for me, once. If that stupid 
creature comes, why, I don t know what I shall do! He s 
so presuming! and he ll squeak about with those horrid 
shoes of his; and then, I suppose, it will all come out, one 
way or another; and I don t know what Clayton will 

"But I thought you didn t care what he thought." 

"Well, you know, he s been writing to me all about his 
family. There s his father, is a very distinguished man, 
of a very old family; and he s been writing to me about 
his sister, the most dreadfully sensible sister, he has got 
good, lovely, accomplished, and pious! Oh, dear me! 
I don t know what in the world he ever thought of me 
for! And, do you think, there s a postscript from his 
sister, written elegantly as can be ! " 

"As to family, Miss Nina," said Harry, "I think the 
Gordons can hold up their heads with anybody ; and then, 
I rather think you 11 like Miss Clayton." 

"Ah! but then, Harry, this talking about fathers and 
sisters, it s bringing the thing awfully near! It looks so 
much, you know, as if I really were caught. Do you 
know, Harry, I think I m just like my pony? You 
know, she likes to have you come and offer her corn, and 
stroke her neck; and she likes to make you believe she s 
going to let you catch her; but when it comes to putting 
a bridle on her, she s off in a minute. Now, that s the 
way with me. It s rather exciting, you know, these 
beaux, and love-letters, and talking sentiment, going to 
the opera, and taking rides on horseback, and all that. 

94 DEED 

But when men get to talking about their fathers, and 
their sisters, and to act as if they were sure of me, I m 
just like Sylphine I want to be off. You know, Harry, 
I think it s a very serious thing, this being married. It s 
dreadful! I don t want to be a woman grown. I wish 
I could always be a girl, and live just as I have lived, and 
have plenty more girls come and see me, and have fun. 
I haven t been a bit happy lately, not a bit; and I never 
was unhappy before in my life." 

"Well, why don t you write to Mr. Clayton, and break 
it all off, if you feel so about it 1 " 

"Well, why don t II I don t know. I ve had a great 
mind to do it; but I m afraid I should feel worse than I 
do now. He s coming just like a great dark shadow over 
my life, and everything is beginning to feel so real to me! 
I don t want to take up life in earnest. I read a story, 
once, about Undine; and, do you know, Harry, I think 
I feel just as Undine did, when she felt her soul coming 
in her?" 

"And is Clayton Knight Heldebound?" said Harry, 

"I don t know. What if he should be? Now, Harry, 
you see the fact is that sensible men get their heads turned 
by such kind of girls as I am; and they pet us, and 
humor us. But then, I m afraid they re thinking, all 
the while, that their turn to rule is coming, by and by. 
They marry us because they think they are going to make 
us over; and what I m afraid of is, I never can be made 
over. Don t think I was cut out right in the first place; 
and there never will be much more of me than there is 
now. And he .11 be comparing me with his pattern sister ; 
and I sha n t be any the more amiable for that. Now, his 
sister is what folks call highly educated, you know, Harry. 
She understands all about literature, and everything. As 
for me, I ve just cultivation enough to appreciate a fine 


horse that s the extent. And yet I m proud. I 
wouldn t wish to stand second, in his opinion, even to his 
sister. So, there it is. That s the way with us girls! 
We are always wanting what we know we ought not to 
have, and are not willing to take the trouble to get." 

"Miss Nina, if you 11 let me speak my mind out frankly, 
now, I want to offer one piece of advice. Just he perfectly 
true and open with Mr. Clayton ; and if he and Mr. Car 
son should come together, just tell him frankly how the 
matter stands. You are a Gordon, and they say truth 
always runs in the Gordon blood; and now, Miss Nina, 
you are no longer a schoolgirl, but a young lady at the 
head of the estate." 

He stopped, and hesitated. 

"Well, Harry, you needn t stop. I understand you 
got a few grains of sense left, I hope, and have n t got so 
many friends that I can afford to get angry with you for 
nothing. " 

"I suppose," said Harry thoughtfully, "that your aunt 
will be well enough to be down to the table. Have you 
told her how matters stand 1 " 

"Who? Aunt Loo"? Catch me telling her anything! 
No, Harry, I ve got to stand all alone. I haven t any 
mother, and I haven t any sister; and Aunt Loo is worse 
than nobody, because it s provoking to have somebody 
round that you feel might take an interest, and ought to, 
and don t care a red cent for you. Well, I declare, if 
I m not much, if I m not such a model as Miss Clay 
ton, there, how could any one expect it, when I have 
just come up by myself, first at the plantation, here, and 
then at that French boarding-school? I tell you what, 
Harry, boarding-schools are not what they re cried up to 
be. It s good fun, no doubt, but we never learnt any 
thing there. That is to say, we never learnt it internally, 
but had it just rubbed on to us outside. A girl can t 

96 DRED 

help, of course, learning something; and I ve learnt just 
what I happened to like and couldn t help, and a deal 
that isn t of the most edifying nature besides." 
Well! we shall see what will come! 



" I SAY, Tiff, do you think he will come to-night 1 " 

"Laws, laws, missis, how can Tiff tell? I s been 
a-gazin out de do . Don t see nor hear nothin ." 

"It s so lonesome! so lonesome! and the nights so 

And the speaker, an emaciated, feeble little woman, 
turned herself uneasily on the ragged pallet where she was 
lying, and twirling her slender fingers nervously, gazed 
up at the rough, unplastered beams above. 

The room was of the coarsest and rudest cast. The hut 
was framed of rough pine logs, filled between the crevices 
with mud and straw; the floor made of rough-split planks, 
unevenly jointed together; the window was formed by 
some single panes arranged in a row where a gap had been 
made in one of the logs. At one end was a rude chimney 
of sticks, where smouldered a fire of pine-cones and brush 
wood, covered over with a light coat of white ashes. On 
the mantel over it was a shelf, which displayed sundry 
vials, a cracked teapot and tumbler, some medicinal-looking 
packages, a turkey s wing, much abridged and defaced by 
frequent usage, some bundles of dry herbs, and lastly a 
gayly painted mug of coarse crockery ware, containing a 
bunch of wild-flowers. On pegs, driven into the logs, 
were arranged different articles of female attire, and divers 
little coats and dresses, which belonged to smaller wearers, 
with now and then soiled and coarse articles of man s 


98 DEED 

The woman, who lay upon a coarse chaff pallet in the 
corner, was one who once might have been pretty. Her 
skin was fair, her hair soft and curling, her eyes of a beau 
tiful blue, her hands thin and transparent as pearl. But 
the deep, dark circles under the eyes, the thin, white lips, 
the attenuated limbs, the hurried breathing, and the burn 
ing spots in the cheek told that, whatever she might have 
been, she was now not long for this world. 

Beside her bed was sitting an old negro, in whose close- 
curling wool age had begun to sprinkle flecks of white. 
His countenance presented, physically, one of the most 
uncomely specimens of negro features; and would have 
been positively frightful, had it not been redeemed by an 
expression of cheerful kindliness which beamed from it. 
His face was of ebony blackness, with a wide, upturned 
nose, a mouth of portentous size, guarded by clumsy lips, 
revealing teeth which a shark might have envied. The 
only fine feature was his large black eyes, which, at the 
present, were concealed by a huge pair of plated spectacles, 
placed very low upon his nose, and through which he was 
directing his sight upon a child s stocking, that he was 
busily darning. At his foot was a rude cradle, made of 
a gum-tree log, hollowed out into a trough, and wadded 
by various old fragments of flannel, in which slept a very 
young infant. Another child, of about three years of age, 
was sitting on the negro s knee, busily playing with some 
pine cones and mosses. 

The figure of the old negro was low and stooping; and 
he wore, pinned round his shoulders, a half-handkerchief 
or shawl of red flannel, arranged much as an old woman 
would have arranged it. One or two needles, with coarse, 
black thread dangling to them, were stuck in on his shoul 
der; and as he busily darned on the little stocking, he 
kept up a kind of droning intermixture of chanting and 
talking to the child on his knee. 


"So, ho, Teddy! bub dar! my man! sit still! 
cause yer ma s sick, and sister s gone for medicine. Dar, 
Tiff 11 sing to his little man. 

Christ was born in Bethlehem, 
Christ was born in Bethlehem, 
And in a manger laid. 

Take car, dar ! dat ar needle scratch yer little fingers ! 
poor little fingers ! Ah, be still, now ! play wid yer 
pretty tings, and see what yer pa 11 bring ye! " 

" Oh, dear me ! well ! " said the woman on the bed, 
"I shall give up!" 

" Bress de Lord, no, missis ! " said Tiff, laying down 
the stocking, and holding the child to him with one hand, 
while the other was busy in patting and arranging the bed 
clothes. "No use in givin up! Why, Lord bress you, 
missis, we 11 be all up right agin in a few days. Work 
has been kinder pressin , lately, and chil n s clothes ain t 
quite so speckable; but den I s doin heaps o mendin . 
See dat ar ! " said he, holding up a slip of red flannel, re 
splendent with a black patch, "dat ar hole won t, go no 
furder and it does well enough for Teddy to wear rollin 
round de do , and such like times, to save his bettermost. 
And de way I s put de yarn in dese yer stockings ain t 
slow. Den I s laid out to take a stitch in Teddy s shoes; 
and dat ar hole in de kiverlet, dat ar 11 be stopped fore 
morning. Oh, let me alone! he! he! he! Ye didn t 
keep Tiff for nothing, missis ho, ho, ho ! " And the 
black face seemed really to become unctuous with the oil 
of gladness, as Tiff proceeded in his work of consolation. 

"Oh, Tiff, Tiff! you re a good creature! But you 
don t know. Here I ve been lying alone day after day, 
and he off, nobody knows where ! And when he comes, 
it ll be only a day, and he s off; and all he does don t 
amount to anything all miserable rubbish brought home 
and traded off for other rubbish. Oh, what a fool I was 

100 DEED 

for being married ! Oh, dear ! girls little know what mar 
riage is! I thought it was so dreadful to be an old maid, 
and a pretty thing to get married! But, oh, the pain, 
and worry, and sickness, and suffering I ve gone through! 
always wandering from place to place, never settled; 
one thing gojng after another, worrying, watching, weary, 
and all for nothing, for I am worn out, and I shall 
die ! " 

"Oh, Lord, no! 7 said Tiff earnestly. "Lor, Tiff 11 
make ye some tea, and give it to ye, ye poor lamb! It s 
drefful hard, so tis; but times 11 mend, and massa 11 
come round and be more settled, like, and Teddy will 
grow up and help his ma; and I m sure dere isn t a 
pearter young un dan dis yer puppet ! " said he, turning 
fondly to the trough where the little fat, red mass of in 
cipient humanity was beginning to throw up two small 
fists, and to utter sundry small squeaks, to intimate his 
desire to come into notice. 

"Lor, now," said he, adroitly depositing Teddy on the 
floor, and taking up the baby, whom he regarded fondly 
through his great spectacles; "stretch away, my pretty! 
stretch away! ho-e-ho! Lor, if he hasn t got his mammy s 
eye, for all dis worl ! Ah, brave ! See him, missis ! " 
said he, laying the little bundle on the bed by her. "Did 
ye ever see a peartier young un 1 He, he, he ! Dar, now, 
his mammy should take him, so she should! and Tiff 11 
make mammy some tea, so he will ! " And Tiff, in a 
moment, was on his knees, carefully laying together the 
ends of the burned sticks, and blowing a cloud of white 
ashes, which powdered his woolly head and red shawl like 
snowflakes, while Teddy was busy in pulling the needles out 
of some knitting- work which hung in a bag by the fire. 

Tiff, having started the fire by blowing, proceeded very 
carefully to adjust upon it a small, black porringer of 
water, singing, as he did so, 


" My way is dark and cloudy, 

So it is, so it is ; 
My way is dark and cloudy, 

All de day. " 

Then rising from his work, he saw that the poor, weak 
mother had clasped the baby to her bosom, and was sob 
bing very quietly. Tiff, as he stood there, with his short, 
square, ungainly figure, his long arms hanging out from 
his side like bows, his back covered by the red shawl, 
looked much like a compassionate tortoise standing on its 
hind legs. He looked pitifully at the sight, took off his 
glasses and wiped his eyes, and lifted up his voice in an 
other stave : 

" But we 11 join de forty tousand, by and by, 

So we will, so we will. 

We 11 join de forty tousand, upon de golden shore, 
And our sorrows will be gone forevermore, more, more. 

"Bress my soul, Mas r Teddy! now us been haulm 
out de needles from Miss Fanny s work! dat ar ain t 
purty, now! Tiff 11 be shamed of ye, and ye do like dat 
when yer ma s sick! Don t ye know ye must be good, 
else Tiff won t tell ye no stories! Dar, now, sit down on 
dis yere log; dat ar s just the nicest log! plenty o moss 
on it yer can be a-pickin out ! Now, yer sit still dar, and 
don t be interruptin yer ma." 

The urchin opened a wide, round pair of blue eyes upon 
Tiff, looking as if he were mesmerized, and sat, with a 
quiet, subdued air, upon his log, while Tiff went fumbling 
about in a box in the corner. After some rattling, he 
produced a pine knot, as the daylight was fading fast in 
the room, and driving it into a crack in another log which 
stood by the chimney-corner, he proceeded busily to light 
it, muttering, as he did so, 

"Want to make it more cheerful like." 

Then he knelt down and blew the coals under the little 
porringer, which, like pine coals in general, always sulked 

102 DEED 

and looked black when somebody was not blowing them. 
He blew vigorously, regardless of the clouds of ashes which 
encircled him, and which settled even on the tips of his 
eyelashes, and balanced themselves on the end of his nose. 

"Bress de Lord, I s dreadful strong in my breff ! Lord, 
dey might have used me in blacksmissin ! I s kep dis yer 
chimney a-gwine dis many a day. I wonder, now, what 
keeps Miss Fanny out so long ? " 

And Tiff rose up with the greatest precaution, and glan 
cing every moment towards the bed, and almost tipping 
himself over in his anxiety to walk softly, advanced to the 
rude door, which opened with a wooden latch and string, 
opened it carefully, and looked out. Looking out with 
him, we perceive that the little hut stands alone, in the 
heart of a dense pine forest, which shuts it in on every 

Tiff held the door open a few moments to listen. No 
sound was heard but the shivering wind, swaying and sur 
ging in melancholy cadences through the long pine leaves, 
a lonesome, wailing, uncertain sound. 

"Ah! dese yer pine-trees! dey always a-talkin ! " said 
Tiff to himself, in a sort of soliloquy. "Whisper, whis 
per, whisper! De Lord knows what it s all about! dey 
never tells folks what dey wants to know. Hark ! dar is 
Foxy, as sure as I m a livin sinner ! Ab ! dar she is ! " 
as a quick, loud bark reverberated. "Ah, ha! Foxy! 
you ll bring her along!" caressing a wolfish-looking, lean 
cur, who came bounding through the trees. 

"Ah, yer good-for-nothing! what makes yer run so fast, 
and leave yer missus behind ye? Hark! what s dat! " 

The clear voice came caroling gayly from out the pine- 

" If you get there before I do 
I m bound for the land of Canaan." 

Whereupon Tiff, kindling with enthusiasm, responded, 


"Look out for me I m coming too 
I m bound for the land of Canaan." 

The response was followed by a gay laugh, as a childish 
voice shouted, from the woods, 

"Ha! Tiff, you there?" 

And immediately a bold, bright, blue-eyed girl, of about 
eight years old, came rushing forward. 

"Lors, Miss Fanny, so grad you s come! Yer ma s 
powerful weak dis yer arternoon ! " And then, sinking his 
voice to a whisper, "Why, now, yer d better b lieve her 
sperits isn t the best! Why, she s that bad, Miss Fanny, 
she actually been a-cryin when I put the baby in her 
arms. Railly, I m consarned, and I wish yer pa ud come 
home. Did yer bring de medicine ? " 

"Ah, yes; here tis." 

"Ah! so good! I was a-makin of her some tea, to set 
her up, like, and I 11 put a little drop of dis yer in t. 
You gwin, now, and speak to yer ma, and I 11 pick up a 
little light wood round here, and make up de fire. Massa 
Teddy 11 be powerful glad to see yer. Hope you s got 
him something, too ! " 

The girl glided softly into the room, and stood over the 
bed where her mother was lying. 

"Mother, I ve come home," said she gently. 

The poor, frail creature in the bed seemed to be in one 
of those helpless hours of life s voyage when all its waves 
and billows are breaking over the soul; and while the 
little newcomer was blindly rooting and striving at her 
breast, she had gathered the worn counterpane over her 
face, and the bed was shaken by her sobbings. 

"Mother! mother! mother! " said the child, softly 
touching her. 

"Go away! go away, child! Oh, I wish I had never 
been born ! I wish you had never been born, nor Teddy, 
nor the baby! It s all nothing but trouble and sor- 

104 DEED 

row! Fanny, don t you ever marry! Mind what I tell 

The child stood frightened by the bedside, while Tiff 
had softly deposited a handful of pine wood near the fire 
place, had taken off the porringer, and was busily stirring 
and concocting something in an old cracked china mug. As 
he stirred, a strain of indignation seemed to cross his gener 
ally tranquil mind, for he often gave short sniffs and grunts, 
indicative of extreme disgust, and muttered to himself, 

" Dis yer comes of quality marrying these yer poor white 
folks! Never had no pinion on it, noway! Ah! do 
hear the poor lamb now! nough to break one s heart! " 

By this time, the stirring and flavoring being finished to 
his taste, he came to the side of the bed, and began, in 
a coaxing tone, 

"Come, now, Miss Sue, come! You s all worn out! 
No wonder ! dat ar great fellow tugging at you ! Bless his 
dear little soul, he s gaming half a pound a week! Nough 
to pull down his ma entirely ! Come, now ; take a little 
sup of this just a little sup! Warm you up, and put a 
bit of life in you; and den I spects to fry you a morsel 
of der chicken, cause a boy like dis yer can t be nursed 
on slops, dat I knows ! Dere, dere, honey ! " said he, 
gently removing the babe, and passing his arm under the 
pillow. "I s drefful strong in the back. My arm is long 
and strong, and I 11 raise you up just as easy ! Take a 
good sup on it, now, and wash dese troubles down. I 
reckon the good man above is looking down on us all, and 
bring us all round right, some time." 

The invalid, who seemed exhausted by the burst of feel 
ing to which she had been giving way, mechanically obeyed 
a voice to which she had always been accustomed, and 
drank eagerly, as if with feverish thirst; and when she 
had done, she suddenly threw her arms around the neck 
of her strange attendant. 


"Oh, Tiff, Tiff! poor old black, faithful Tiff! What 
should I have done without you? So sick as I ve been, 
and so weak, and so lonesome! But, Tiff, it s coming to 
an end pretty soon. I ve seen, to-night, that I ain t going 
to live long, and I ve been crying to think the children 
have got to live. If I could only take them all into my 
arms, and all lie down in the grave together, I should be 
so glad! I never knew what God made me for! I ve 
never been fit for anything, nor done anything ! " 

Tiff seemed so utterly overcome by this appeal, his great 
spectacles were fairly washed down in a flood of tears, and 
his broad, awkward frame shook with sobs. 

"Law bless you, Miss Sue, don t be talking dat ar way! 
Why, if de Lord should call you, Miss Sue, I can take 
care of the children. I can bring them up powerful, I 
tell ye ! But you won t be a-going; you 11 get better ! It s 
just the sperits is low; and laws, why shouldn t dey be? " 

Just at this moment a loud barking was heard outside 
the house, together with the rattle of wheels and the tramp 
of horses feet. 

"Dar s massa, sure as I m alive! " said he, hastily lay 
ing down the invalid, and arranging her pillows. 

A rough voice called, "Hallo, Tiff! here with a light! " 

Tiff caught the pine knot, and ran to open the door. 
A strange-looking vehicle, of a most unexampled composite 
order, was standing before the door, drawn by a lean, one- 
eyed horse. 

"Here, Tiff, help me out. I ve got a lot of goods 
here. How s Sue?" 

"Missis is powerful bad; been wanting to see you dis 
long time." 

"Well, away, Tiff! take this out," indicating a long, 
rusty piece of stove-pipe. 

" Lay this in the house ; and here ! " handing a cast-iron 
stove-door, with the latch broken. 

106 DEED 

"Law, massa, what on arth is the use of dis yer? " 

"Don t ask questions, Tiff; work away. Help me out 
with these boxes." 

"What on arth now?" said Tiff to himself, as one 
rough case after another was disgorged from the vehicle, 
and landed in the small cabin. This being done, and 
orders being given to Tiff to look after the horse and equi 
page, the man walked into the house, with a jolly, slash 
ing air. 

"Hallo, bub!" said he, lifting the two-year-old above 
his head. "Hallo, Fan!" imprinting a kiss on the cheek 
of his girl. "Hallo, Sis!" coining up to the bed where 
the invalid lay, and stooping down over her. Her weak, 
wasted arms were tkrown around his neck, and she said, 
with sudden animation, 

"Oh, you ve come at last! I thought I should die 
without seeing you ! " 

"Oh, you ain t a-going to die, Sis! Why, what talk!" 
said he, chucking her under the chin. "Why, your 
cheeks are as red as roses ! " 

"Pa, see the baby!" said little Teddy, who, having 
climbed over the bed, opened the flannel bundle. 

"Ah! Sis, I call that ar a tolerable fair stroke of busi 
ness! Well, I tell you what, I ve done up a trade now 
that will set us up and no mistake. Besides which, I ve 
got something now in my coat-pocket that would raise a 
dead cat to life, if she was lying at the bottom of a pond, 
with a stone round her neck! See here! Dr. Puffer s 
Elixir of the Water of Life ! warranted to cure janders, 
toothache, earache, scrofula, spepsia, sumption, and every 
thing else that ever I hearn of! A teaspoonful of that ar, 
mom and night, and in a week you 11 be round agin, as 
pert as a cricket ! " 

It was astonishing to see the change which the entrance 
of this man had wrought on the invalid. All her appre- 


hensions seemed to have vanished. She sat up on the 
bed, following his every movement with her eyes, and 
apparently placing full confidence in the new medicine, as 
if it were the first time that ever a universal remedy had 
been proposed to her. It must be noticed, however, that 
Tin", who had returned, and was building the fire, indulged 
himself, now and then, when the back of the speaker was 
turned, by snuffing at him in a particularly contemptuous 
manner. The man was a thick-set and not ill-looking 
personage, who might have been forty or forty-five years 
of age. His eyes, of a clear, lively brown, his close-curl 
ing hair, his high forehead, and a certain devil-may-care 
frankness of expression were traits not disagreeable, and 
which went some way to account for the partial eagerness 
with which the eye of the wife followed him. 

The history of the pair is briefly told. He was the son 
of a small farmer of North Carolina. His father, having 
been so unfortunate as to obtain possession of a few negroes, 
the whole family became ever after inspired with an in 
tense disgust for all kinds of labor; and John, the oldest 
son, adopted for himself the ancient and honorable profes 
sion of a loafer. To lie idle in the sun in front of some 
small grog-shop, to attend horse-races, cock-fights, and 
gander-pullings, to flout out occasionally in a new waist 
coat, bought with money which came nobody knew how, 
were pleasures to him all satisfactory. He was as guiltless 
of all knowledge of common-school learning as Governor 
Berkley could desire, and far more clear of religious train 
ing than a Mahometan or a Hindoo. 

In one of his rambling excursions through the country, 
he stopped a night at a worn-out and broken-down old 
plantation, where everything had run down, through many 
years of mismanagement and waste. There he stayed 
certain days, playing cards with the equally hopeful son 
of the place, and ended his performances by running away 

108 DEED 

one night with the soft-hearted daughter, only fifteen years 
of age, and who was full as idle, careless, and untaught 
as he. 

The family, whom poverty could not teach to forget 
their pride, were greatly scandalized at the marriage ; and 
had there been anything left in the worn-out estate where 
with to portion her, the bride, nevertheless, would have 
been portionless. The sole piece of property that went 
out with her from the paternal mansion was one who, 
having a mind and will of his own, could not be kept from 
following her. The girl s mother had come from a distant 
branch of one of the most celebrated families in Virginia, 
and Tiff had been her servant; and with a heart forever 
swelling with the remembrances of the ancestral greatness 
of the Peytons, he followed his young mistress in her 
mesalliance with long-suffering devotion. He even bowed 
his neck so far as to acknowledge for his master a man 
whom he considered by position infinitely his inferior; for 
Tiff, though crooked and black, never seemed to cherish 
the slightest doubt that the whole force of the Peyton 
blood coursed through his veins, and that the Peyton honor 
was intrusted to his keeping. His mistress was a Peyton, 
her children were Peyton children, and even the little 
bundle of flannel in the gum-tree cradle was a Peyton; 
and as for him, he was Tiff Peyton, and this thought 
warmed and consoled him as he followed his poor mistress 
during all the steps of her downward course in the world. 
On her husband he looked with patronizing, civil contempt. 
He wished him well; he thought it proper to put the best 
face on all his actions; but in a confidential hour, Tiff 
would sometimes raise his spectacles emphatically, and 
give it out, as his own private opinion, "dat dere could 
not be much spected from dat ar scription of people! " 

In fact, the roving and unsettled nature of John Cripps s 
avocations and locations might have justified the old fel- 


low s contempt. His industrial career might be defined as 
comprising a little of everything, and a great deal of 
nothing. He had begun, successively, to learn two or 
three trades ; had half made a horse-shoe, and spoiled one 
or two carpenter s planes; had tried his hand at stage- 
driving; had raised fighting-cocks, and kept dogs for hunt 
ing negroes. But he invariably retreated from every one 
of his avocations, in his own opinion a much-abused man. 
The last device that had entered his head was suggested 
by the success of a shrewd Yankee peddler, who, having 
a lot of damaged and unsalable material to dispose of, 
talked him into the belief that he possessed yet an unde 
veloped talent for trade; and poor John Cripps, guiltless 
of multiplication or addition table, and who kept his cock- 
fighting accounts on his fingers and by making chalk-marks 
behind the doors, actually was made to believe that he had 
at last received his true vocation. 

In fact, there was something in the constant restlessness 
of this mode of life that suited his roving turn; and 
though he was constantly buying what he could not sell, 
and losing on all that he did sell, yet somehow he kept up 
an illusion that he was doing something, because stray 
coins now and then passed through his pockets, and because 
the circle of small taverns in which he could drink and 
loaf was considerably larger. There was one resource 
which never failed him when all other streams went dry ; 
and that was the unceasing ingenuity and fidelity of the 
bondman Tiff. 

Tiff, in fact, appeared to be one of those comfortable old 
creatures who retain such a good understanding with all 
created nature that food never is denied them. Fish would 
always bite on Tiff s hook when they wouldn t on any 
body s else; so that he was wont confidently to call the 
nearest stream "Tiff s pork-barrel." Hens always laid 
eggs for Tiff, and cackled to him confidentially where they 

110 DEED 

were deposited. Turkeys gobbled and strutted for him, 
and led forth for him broods of downy little ones. All 
sorts of wild game, squirrels, rabbits, coons, and possums, 
appeared to come with pleasure and put themselves into 
his traps and springes ; so that, where another man might 
starve, Tiff would look round him with unctuous satisfac 
tion, contemplating all nature as his larder, where his pro 
visions were wearing fur coats, and walking about on four 
legs, only for safe keeping till he got ready to eat them. 
So that Cripps never came home without anticipation of 
something savory, even although he had drank up his last 
quarter of a dollar at the tavern. This suited Cripps. He 
thought Tiff was doing his duty, and occasionally brought 
him home some unsalable bit of rubbish, by way of testi 
monial of the sense he entertained of his worth. The 
spectacles in which Tiff gloried came to him in this man 
ner; and although it might have been made to appear that 
the glasses were only plain Avindow-glass, Tiff was happily 
ignorant that they were not the best of convex lenses, and 
still happier in the fact that his strong, unimpaired eye 
sight made any glasses at all entirely unnecessary. It was 
only an aristocratic weakness in Tiff. Spectacles he some 
how considered the mark of a gentleman, and an appropri 
ate symbol for one who had "been fetched up in the very 
fustest families of Old Virginny." 

He deemed them more particularly appropriate, as, in 
addition to his manifold outward duties, he likewise as 
sumed, as the reader has seen, some feminine accomplish 
ments. Tiff could darn a stocking with anybody in the 
country; he could cut out children s dresses and aprons; 
he could patch, and he could seam; all which he did with 
infinite self-satisfaction. 

Notwithstanding the many crooks and crosses in his lot, 
Tiff was, on the whole, a cheery fellow. He had an oily, 
rollicking fullness of nature, an exuberance of physical satis- 


faction in existence, that the greatest weight of adversity 
could only tone down to becoming sobriety. He was on 
the happiest terms of fellowship with himself; he liked 
himself, he believed in himself; and when nobody else 
would do it, he would pat himself on his own shoulder, 
and say, "Tiff, you re a jolly dog, a fine fellow, and I 
like you ! " He was seldom without a running strain of 
soliloquy with himself, intermingled with joyous bursts of 
song and quiet intervals of laughter. On pleasant days 
Tiff laughed a great deal. He laughed when his beans 
came up, he laughed when the sun came out after a storm, 
he laughed for fifty things that you never think of laugh 
ing at ; and it agreed with him he throve upon it. In 
times of trouble and perplexity, Tiff talked to himself, and 
found a counselor who always kept secrets. On the pre 
sent occasion it was not without some inward discontent 
that he took a survey of the remains of one of his best- 
fatted chickens, which he had been intending to serve up, 
piecemeal, for his mistress. So he relieved his mind by 
a little confidential colloquy with himself. 

"Dis yer," he said to himself, with a contemptuous in 
clination toward the newly arrived, " will be for eating like 
a judgment, I pose. Wish, now, I had killed de old 
gobbler ! Good enough for him raal tough, he is. Dis 
yer, now, was my primest chicken, and dar she 11 jist sit 
and see him eat it ! Laws, dese yer women ! Why, dey 
does get so sot on husbands! Pity they couldn t have 
something like to be sot on ! It jist riles me to see him gob 
bling down everything, and she a-looking on ! Well, here 
goes," said he, depositing the frying-pan over the coals, 
in which the chicken was soon fizzling. Drawing out the 
table, Tiff prepared it for supper. Soon coffee was steaming 
over the fire, and corn-dodgers baking in the ashes. Mean 
while, John Cripps was busy explaining to his wife the 
celebrated wares that had so much raised his spirits. 

112 DEED 

"Well, now, you see, Sue, this yer time I ve been up 
to Baleigh; and I met a fellow there, coming from New 
York, or New Orleans, or some of them northern states." 

"New Orleans isn t a northern state," humbly inter 
posed his wife, "is it? " 

"Well, New something! Who the devil cares? Don t 
you be interrupting me, you Suse ! " 

Could Cripps have seen the vengeful look which Tiff 
gave him over the spectacles at this moment, he might 
have trembled for his supper. But innocent of this, he 
proceeded with his story. 

"You see, this yer fellow had a case of bonnets just the 
height of the fashion. They come from Paris, the capital 
of Europe ; and he sold them to me for a mere song. Ah, 
you ought to see em! I m going to get em out. Tiff, 
hold the candle, here." And Tiff held the burning torch 
with an air of grim skepticism and disgust, while Cripps 
hammered and wrenched the top boards off, and displayed 
to view a portentous array of bonnets, apparently of every 
obsolete style and fashion of the last fifty years. 

"Dem s fustrate for scarecrows, anyhow!" muttered 

"Now, what," said Cripps, "Sue, what do you think 
I gave for these ? " 

"I don t know," said she faintly. 

"Well, I gave fifteen dollars for the whole box! And 
there ain t one of these," said he, displaying the most sin 
gular specimen on his hand, "that isn t worth from two to 
five dollars. I shall clear, at least, fifty dollars on that 

Tiff, at this moment, turned to his frying-pan, and bent 
over it, soliloquizing as he did so, 

"Anyway, I s found out one ting, where de women 
gets dem roosts of bonnets dey wars at camp-meetings. 
Laws, dey s enough to spile a work of grace, dem ar! If 


I was to meet one of dem ar of a dark night in a grave 
yard, I should tink I was sent for not the pleasantest 
way of sending, neither. Poor missis ! looking mighty 
faint ! Don t wonder ! Nough to scarr a weakly woman 
into fits ! " 

"Here, Tiff, help me to open this box. Hold the light, 
here. Durned if it don t come off hard! Here s a lot of 
shoes and boots I got of the same man. Some on em s 
mates, and some ain t; but then, I took the lot cheap. 
Folks don t always warr both shoes alike. Might like to 
warr an odd one, sometimes, ef it s cheap. Now, this yer 
parr of boots is lady s gaiters, all complete, cept there s 
a hole in the lining down by the toe; body ought to be 
careful about putting it on, else the foot will slip between 
the outside and the lining. Anybody that bears that in 
mind just as nice a pair of gaiters as they d want! 
Bargain, there, for somebody complete one, too. Then 
I ve got two or three old bureau drawers that I got cheap 
at auction; and I reckon some on em will fit the old frame 
that I got last year. Got em for a mere song." 

"Bless you, massa, dat ar old bureau I took for de 
chicken-coop! Turkeys chickens hops in lively." 

"Oh, well, scrub it up twill answer just as well. 
Fit the drawers in. And now, old woman, we will sit 
down to supper," said he, planting himself at the table, 
and beginning a vigorous onslaught on the fried chicken, 
without invitation to any other person present to assist 

"Missis can t sit up at the table," said Tiff. "She s 
done been sick ever since de baby was born." And Tiff 
approached the bed with a nice morsel of chicken which he 
had providently preserved on a plate, and which he now 
reverently presented on a board, as a waiter, covered with 

"Now, do eat, missis; you can t live on looking, no- 

VOL. I. 

114 DEED 

ways you can fix it. Do eat while Tiff gets on de baby s 
nightgown. " 

To please her old friend, the woman made a feint of 
eating, but while Tiff s back was turned to the fire, busied 
herself with distributing it to the children, who had stood 
hungrily regarding her, as children will regard what is put 
on to a sick mother s plate. 

"It does me good to see them eat," she said apologeti 
cally once, when Tiff, turning round, detected her in the 

"Ah, missis, maybe! but you ve got to eat for two, 
now. What dey eat ain t going to dis yer little man, 
here. Mind dat ar." 

Cripps apparently bestowed very small attention on any 
thing except the important business before him, which 
he prosecuted with such devotion that very soon coffee, 
chicken, and dodgers had all disappeared. Even the bones 
were sucked dry, and the gravy wiped from the dish. 

"Ah, that s what I call comfortable!" said he, lying 
back in his chair. "Tiff, pull my boots off! and hand 
out that ar demijohn. Sue, I hope you ve made a com 
fortable meal," he said incidentally, standing with his 
back to her, compounding his potation of whiskey and 
water; which having drank, he called up Teddy, and 
offered him the sugar at the bottom of the glass. But 
Teddy, being forewarned by a meaning glance through 
Tiff s spectacles, responded, very politely, 

"No, I thank you, pa. I don t love it." 

"Come here, then, and take it off like a man. It s 
good for you," said John Cripps. 

The mother s eyes followed the child wishfully; and 
she said faintly, "Don t John! don t! " And Tiff 
ended the controversy by taking the glass unceremoniously 
out of his master s hand. 

"Laws bless you, massa, can t be bodered with dese yer 


young ones dis yer time of night ! Time dey s all in bed, 
and dishes washed up. Here, Tedd," seizing the child, 
and loosening the buttons of his slip behind, and drawing 
out a rough trundle-bed, "you crawl in dere, and curl up 
in your nest; and don t you forget your prars, honey, else 
maybe you 11 never wake up again." 

Cripps had now filled a pipe with tobacco of the most 
villainous character, with which incense he was perfuming 
the little apartment. 

"Laws, massa, dat ar smoke ain t good for missis," said 
Tiff. "She done been sick to her stomach all day." 

" Oh, let him smoke ! I like to have him enjoy him 
self," said the indulgent wife. "But, Fanny, you had 
better go to bed, dear. Come here and kiss me, child; 
good-night, good-night ! " 

The mother held on to her long, and looked at her wish 
fully ; and when she had turned to go, she drew her back, 
and kissed her again, and said, "Good-night, dear child, 
good-night ! " 

Fanny climbed up a ladder in one corner of the room, 
through a square hole, to the loft above. 

"I say," said Cripps, taking his pipe out of his mouth, 
and looking at Tiff, who was busy washing the dishes, "I 
say it s kind of peculiar that gal keeps sick so. Seemed 
to have good constitution when I married her. I m think 
ing," said he, without noticing the gathering wrath in 
Tiff s face, "I m a-thinking whether steamin wouldn t 
do her good. Now, I got a most dreadful cold when I 
was up at Raleigh thought I should have given up ; and 
there was a steam-doctor there. Had a little kind of ma 
chine, with kettle and pipes, and he put me in a bed, put 
in the pipes, and set it a-going. I thought, my soul, I 
should have been floated off; but it carried off the cold, 
complete. I m thinking if something of that kind 
wouldn t be good for Mis Cripps," 

116 DRED 

"Laws, massa, don t go for to trying it on her! She is 
never no better for dese yer things you do for her." 

"Now," said Cripps, not appearing to notice the inter 
ruption, "these yer stove-pipes, and the teakettle, I 
should n t wonder if we could get up a steam with them! " 

"It s my private pinion, if you do, she ll be sailing 
out of the world," said Tiff. " What s one man s meat is 
another one s pisin, my old mis s used to say. Very best 
thing you can do for her is to let her alone. Dat ar is my 

"John," said the little woman, after a few minutes, "I 
wish you d come here, and sit on the bed." 

There was something positive, and almost authoritative, 
in the manner in which this was said, which struck John 
as so unusual, that he came with a bewildered air, sat 
down, and gazed at her with his mouth wide open. 

"I m so glad you ve come home, because I have had 
things that I ve wanted to say to you! I ve been lying 
here thinking about it, and I have been turning it over in 
my mind. I m going to die soon, I know." 

"Ah! bah! Don t be bothering a fellow with any of 
your hysterics ! " 

"John, John! it isn t hysterics! Look at me! Look 
at my hand ! look at my face ! I m so weak, and some 
times I have such coughing spells, and every time it seems 
to me as if I should die. But it ain t to trouble you that 
I talk. I don t care about myself, but I don t want the 
children to grow up and be like what we ve been. You 
have a great many contrivances; do, pray, contrive to have 
them taught to read, and make something of them in the 

"Bah! what s the use? I never learnt to read, and 
I m as good a fellow as I want. Why, there s plenty of 
men round here making their money, every year, that 
can t read or write a word. Old Hubell, there, up on the 


Shad plantation, has hauled in money, hand over hand, 
and he always signs his mark. Got nine sons can t a 
soul of them read or write, more than I. I tell you, 
there s nothing ever comes of this yer laming. It s all 
a sell a regular Yankee hoax! I ve always got cheated 
by them damn reading, writing Yankees, whenever I ve 
traded with em. What s the good, I want to know! 
You was teached how to read when you was young 
much good it s ever done you! " 

" Sure enough ! Sick day and night, moving about from 
place to place, sick baby crying, and not knowing what to 
do for it no more than a child! Oh, I hope Fanny will 
learn something! It seems to me, if there was some 
school for my children to go to, or some church, or some 
thing now, if there is any such place as heaven, I 
should like to have them get to it." 

"Ah! bah! Don t bother about that! When we get 
keeled up, that will be the last of us! Come, come, don t 
plague a fellow any more with such talk! I m tired, and 
I m going to sleep." And the man, divesting himself of 
his overcoat, threw himself on the bed, and was soon snor 
ing heavily in profound slumber. 

Tiff, who had been trotting the baby by the fire, now 
came softly to the bedside, and sat down. 

"Miss Sue," he said, "it s no count talking to him! 
I don t mean nothing dis pectful, Miss Sue, but de fac is, 
dem dat isn t born gentlemen can t be spected fur to see 
through dese yer things like us of de old families. Law, 
missis, don t you worry! Now, jest leave dis yer matter 
to old Tiff! Dere never wasn t anything Tiff couldn t 
do, if he tried. He ! he ! he ! Miss Fanny, she done got 
de letters right smart; and I know I ll come it round 
mas r, and make him buy de books for her. I 11 tell you 
what s come into my head, to-day. There s a young lady 
come to de big plantation, up dere, who s been to New 

118 DEED 

York getting edicated, and I s going for to ask her about 
dese yer things. And about de chil en s going to church, 
and dese yer things, why, preaching, you know, is mazin 
unsartain round here; but I 11 keep on de lookout, and do 
de best I can. Why, Lord, Miss Sue, I s bound for the 
land of Canaan, myself, the best way I ken; and I m 
sartain I sha n t go without taking the chil en along with 
me. Ho! ho! ho! Dat s what I sha n t! De chil en 
will have to be with Tiff, and Tiff will have to be with 
the chil en, wherever dey is! Dat sit! He! he! he!" 

"Tiff," said the young woman, her large blue eyes look 
ing at him, " I have heard of the Bible. Have you ever 
seen one, Tiff?" 

"Oh yes, honey, dar was a big Bible that your ma 
brought in the family when she married; but dat ar was 
tore up to make wadding for de guns, one thing or another, 
and dey never got no more. But I s been very serving, 
and kept my ears open in a camp-meeting, and such places, 
and I s learnt right smart of de things that s in it." 

"Now, Tiff, can you say anything?" said she, fixing 
her large, troubled eyes on him. 

"Well, honey, dere s one thing the man said at de last 
camp-meeting. He preached bout it, and I couldn t 
make out a word he said, cause I ain t smart about preach 
ing like I be about most things. But he said dis yer so 
often that I couldn t help member it. Says he, it was 
dish yer way : Come unto me, all ye that labor and are 
heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

" Rest, rest, rest ! " said the woman thoughtfully, and 
drawing a long sigh. "Oh, how much I want it! Did 
he say that was in the Bible 1 " 

"Yes, he said so; and I spects, by all he said, it s de 
good man above dat says it. It always makes me feel 
better to think on it. It peared like it was jist what I 
was wanting to hear." 


" And I, too ! " she said, turning her head wearily, and 
closing her eyes. "Tiff," she said, opening them, "where 
I m going, maybe I shall meet the one who said that, 
and I 11 ask him about it. Don t talk to me more, now. 
I m getting sleepy. I thought I was better a little while 
after he came home, but I m more tired yet. Put the 
baby in my arms I like the feeling of it. There, there ; 
now give me rest please do ! " and she sank into a deep 
and quiet slumber. 

Tiff softly covered the fire, and sat down by the bed, 
watching the nickering shadows as they danced upward on 
the wall, listening to the heavy sighs of the pine-trees and 
the hard breathing of the sleeping man. Sometimes he 
nodded sleepily, and then, recovering, rose, and took a 
turn to awaken himself. A shadowy sense of fear fell 
upon him; not that he apprehended anything, for he 
regarded the words of his mistress only as the forebodings 
of a wearied invalid. The idea that she could actually 
die, and go anywhere, without him to take care of her, 
seemed never to have occurred to him. About midnight, 
as if a spirit had laid its hand upon him, his eyes flew 
wide open with a sudden start. Her thin, cold hand was 
lying on his; her eyes, large and blue, shone with a sin 
gular and spiritual radiance. 

"Tiff," she gasped, speaking with difficulty, "I ve seen 
the one that said that, and it s all true, too! and I ve 
seen all why I ve suffered so much. He He He is 
going to take me ! Tell the children about Him ! " There 
was a fluttering sigh, a slight shiver, and the lids fell over 
the eyes forever. 



DEATH is always sudden. However gradual may be its 
approaches, it is, in its effects upon the survivor, always 
sudden at last. Tiff thought, at first, that his mistress 
was in a fainting-fit, and tried every means to restore her. 
It was affecting to see him chafing the thin, white, pearly 
hands, in his large, rough, black paws; raising the head 
upon his arm, and calling in a thousand tones of fond en 
dearment, pouring out a perfect torrent of loving devotion 
on the cold, unheeding ear. But then, spite of all he 
could do, the face settled itself, and the hands would not 
be warmed; the thought of death struck him suddenly, 
and throwing himself on the floor by the bed, he wept 
with an exceeding loud and bitter cry. Something in his 
heart revolted against awakening that man who lay heavily 
breathing by her side. He would not admit to himself, at 
this moment, that this man had any right in her, or that 
the sorrow was any part of his sorrow. But the cry awoke 
Cripps, who sat up bewildered in bed, clearing the hair 
from his eyes with the back of his hand. 

" Tiff, what the durned are you howling about ? " 

Tiff got up in a moment, and swallowing down his grief 
and his tears, pointed indignantly to the still figure on the 

"Dar! dar! Wouldn t b lieve her last night! Now 
what you think of dat ar? See how you look now! 
Good Shepherd hearn you abusing de poor lamb, and he s 
done took her whar you 11 never see her again ! " 


Cripps had, like coarse, animal men generally, a stupid 
and senseless horror of death ; he recoiled from the life 
less form, and sprang from the bed with an expression of 

"Well, now, who would have thought it?" he said. 
"That I should be in bed with a corpse! I hadn t the 
least idea ! " 

"No, dat s plain enough, you didn t! You ll believe 
it now, won t you? Poor little lamb, lying here suffer 
ing all alone! I tell you, when folks have been sick so 
long, dey has to die to make folks believe anything ails 

"Well, really," said Cripps, "this is really why, it 
ain t comfortable! darned if it is! Why, I m sorry about 
the gal! I meant to steam her up, or done something 
with her. What s we to do now 1 " 

"Pretty likely you don t know! Folks like you, dat 
never tends to nothing good, is always flustered when de 
Master knocks at de do ! / knows what to do, though. 
I s boun to get up de crittur, and go up to de old planta 
tion, and bring down a woman and do something for her, 
kind of decent. You mind the chil en till I come back." 

Tiff took down and drew on over his outer garment a 
coarse, light, woolen coat, with very long skirts and large 
buttons, in which he always arrayed himself in cases of 
special solemnity. Stopping at the door before he went 
out, he looked over Cripps from head to foot, with an air 
of patronizing and half -pitiful contempt, and delivered 
himself as follows : 

"Now, mas r, I s gwine up, and will be back quick as 
possible; and now do pray be decent, and let dat ar whis 
key alone for one day in your life, and member death, 
judgment, and ternity. Just act, now, as if you d got a 
streak of something in you such as a man ought for to 
have who is married to one of de very fustest families in 

122 DEED 

old Virginny. Fleet, now, on your latter end; maybe 
will do your poor old soul some good; and don t you go 
for to waking up the chil en before I gets back. They 11 
learn de trouble soon enough." 

Cripps listened to this oration with a stupid, bewildered 
stare, gazing first at the bed, and then at the old man, 
who was soon making all the speed he could towards 

Nina was not habitually an early riser, but on this morn 
ing she had awaked with the first peep of dawn, and find 
ing herself unable to go to sleep again, she had dressed 
herself, and gone down to the garden. She was walking 
up and down in one of the alleys, thinking over the per 
plexities of her own affairs, when her ear was caught by 
the wild and singular notes of one of those tunes commonly 
used among the slaves as dirges. The words " She ar dead 
and gone to heaven " seemed to come floating down upon 
her; and though the voice was cracked and strained, there 
was a sort of wildness and pathos in it, which made a sin 
gular impression in the perfect stillness of everything 
around her. She soon observed a singular-looking vehicle 
appearing in the avenue. 

This wagon, which was no other than the establishment 
of Cripps, drew Nina s attention, and she went to the 
hedge to look at it. Tiff s watchful eye immediately fell 
upon her, and driving up to where she was standing, he 
climbed out upon the ground, and lifting his hat, made 
her a profound obeisance, and "hope,d de young lady was 
bery well, dis morning." 

"Yes, quite well, thank you, uncle," said Nina, regard 
ing him curiously. 

"We s in fliction to our house!" said Tiff solemnly. 
"Dere s been a midnight cry dere, and poor Miss Sue 
(dat s my young missis), she s done gone home." 

" Who is your mistress ? " 


"Well, her name was Seymour fore she married, and 
her ma come from de Virginny Pey tons, great family, 
dem Peytons ! She was so misf ortunate as to get married, 
as gals will, sometimes, 7 said Tiff, speaking in a confiden 
tial tone. "The man wa n t no count, and she s had a 
drefful hard way to travel, poor thing! and dere she s 
a-lying at last stretched out dead, and not a woman nor 
nobody to do de least thing; and please, missis, Tiff 
corned for to see if de young lady would n t send a woman 
for to do for her getting her ready for a funeral. " 

" And who are you, pray ? " 

"Please, missis, I s Tiff Peyton, I is. I s raised in 
Virginny, on de great Peyton place, and I s gin to Miss 
Sue s mother; and when Miss Sue married dis yer man, 
dey was all fended, and wouldn t speak to her; but I 
tuck up for her, cause what s de use of makin a bad 
thing worse? I s a pinion, and telled em, dat he 
oughter be couraged to behave hisself, seein the thing was 
done, and could n t be helped. But no, dey wouldn t; so 
I jest tells em, says I, You may do jis you please, but old 
Tiff s a-gwine with her, says I. I 11 follow Miss Sue 
to de grave s mouth, says I; and ye see I has done it. 7 

"Well done of you! I like you better for it," said 
Nina. "You just drive up to the kitchen, there, and tell 
Rose to give you some breakfast, while I go up to Aunt 

"No, thank you, Miss Nina, I s noways hungry. 
Pears like, when a body s like as I be, swallerin down, 
and all de old times risin in der throat all de time, dey 
can t eat; dey gets filled all up to der eyes with feelin s. 
Lord, Miss Nina, I hope ye won t never know what tis 
to stand outside de gate, when de best friend you ve got s 
gone in; it s hard, dat ar is!" And Tiff pulled out a 
decayed-looking handkerchief, and applied it under his 

124 DRED 

"Well, wait a minute, Tiff." And Nina ran into the 
house, while Tiff gazed mournfully after her. 

"Well, Lor; just de way Miss Sue used to run trip, 
trip, trip! little feet like mice! Lord s will be done!" 

" Oh, Milly ! " said Nina, meeting Milly in the entry, 
"here you are. Here s a poor fellow waiting out by the 
hedge, his mistress dead all alone in the house, with chil 
dren, no woman to do for them. Can t you go down? 
you could do so well! You know how better than any 
one else in the house." 

"Why, that must be poor old Tiff ! " said Milly; "faith 
ful old creature! So that poor woman s gone, at last? the 
better for her, poor soul! Well, I ll ask Miss Loo if I 
may go or you ask her, Miss Nina." 

A quick, imperative tap on her door startled Aunt Nes- 
bit, who was standing at her toilet, finishing her morning s 
dressing operations. 

Mrs. Nesbit was a particularly systematic early riser. 
Nobody knew why; only folks who have nothing to do 
are often the most particular to have the longest possible 
time to do it in. 

"Aunt," said Nina, "there s a poor fellow, out here, 
whose mistress is just dead, all alone in the house, and 
wants to get some woman to go there to help. Can t you 
spare Milly ? " 

"Milly was going to clear-starch my caps, this morning," 
said Aunt Nesbit. "I have arranged everything with 
reference to it, for a week past." 

" Well, aunt, can t she do it to-morrow, or next day, 
just as well ? " 

"To-morrow she is going to rip up that black dress, and 
wash it. I am always systematic, and have everything 
arranged beforehand. Should like very much to do any 
thing I could, if it wasn t for that. Why can t you send 
Aunt Katy ? " 


"Why, aunt, you know we are to have company to din 
ner, and Aunt Katy is the only one who knows where 
anything is, or how to serve things out to the cook. Be 
sides, she s so hard and cross to poor people, I don t think 
she would go. I don t see, I m sure, in such a case as 
this, why you couldn t put your starching off. Milly is 
such a kind, motherly, experienced person, and they are in 

"Oh, these low families don t mind such things much," 
said Aunt Nesbit, fitting on her cap quietly; "they never 
have much feeling. There s no use doing for them 
they are miserable poor creatures." 

"Aunt Nesbit, do, now, as a favor to me! I don t 
often ask favors," said Nina. "Do let Milly go! she s 
just the one wanted. Do, now, say yes ! " And Nina 
pressed nearer, and actually seemed to overpower her slow- 
feeling, torpid relative with the vehemence that sparkled 
in her eyes. 

"Well, I don t care, if" 

"There, Milly, she says yes!" said she, springing out 
the door. " She says you may. Now, hurry ; get things 
ready. I 11 run and have Aunt Katy put up biscuits and 
things for the children; and you get all that you know 
you will want, and be off quick, and I 11 have the pony 
got up, and come on behind you." 



THE excitement produced by the arrival of Tiff, and the 
fitting out of Milly to the cottage, had produced a most 
favorable diversion in Nina s mind from her own especial 
perplexities. Active and buoyant, she threw herself at 
once into whatever happened to come uppermost on the 
tide of events. So, having seen the wagon dispatched, 
she sat down to breakfast in high spirits. 

"Aunt Nesbit, I declare I was so interested in that old 
man! I intend to have the pony, after breakfast, and ride 
over there." 

"I thought you were expecting company." 

"Well, that s one reason, now, why I d like to be off. 
Do I want to sit all primmed up, smiling and smirking, 
and running to the window to see if my gracious lord is 
coming 1 ? No, I won t do that, to please any of them. If 
I happen to fancy to be out riding, I will be out riding." 

"I think," said Aunt Nesbit, "that the hovels of these 
miserable creatures are no proper place for a young lady of 
your position in life." 

"My position in life! I don t see what that has to do 
with it. My position in life enables me to do anything 
I please a liberty which I take pretty generally. And 
then, really, I couldn t help feeling rather sadly about it, 
because that Old Tiff, there (I believe that s his name), 
told me that the woman had been of a good Virginia fam 
ily. Very likely she may have been just such another 
wild girl as I am, and thought as little about bad times, 


and of dying, as I do. So I couldn t help feeling sad for 
her. It really came over me when I was walking in the 
garden. Such a beautiful morning as it was the birds 
all singing, and the dew all glittering and shining on the 
flowers! Why, aunt, the flowers really seemed alive; it 
seemed as though I could hear them breathing, and hear 
their hearts beating like mine. And, all of a sudden, I 
heard the most wild, mournful singing, over in the woods. 
It was n t anything very beautiful, you know, but it was 
so wild, and strange ! She is dead and gone to heaven ! 

she is dead and gone to heaven ! And pretty soon I 
saw the funniest old wagon I don t know what to call it 

and this queer old black man in it, with an old white 
hat and surtout on, and a pair of great, funny-looking 
spectacles on his nose. I went to the fence to see who he 
was; and he came up and spoke to me, made the most 
respectful bow you ought to have seen it ! And then, 
poor fellow, he told me how his mistress was lying dead, 
with the children around her, and nobody in the house! 
The poor old creature, he actually cried, and I felt so for 
him! He seemed to be proud of his dead mistress, in 
spite of her poverty." 

" Where do they live 1 " said Mrs. Nesbit. 

"Why, he told me over in the pine woods, near the 
swamp. " 

"Oh," said Mrs. Nesbit, "I dare say it s that Cripps 
family, that s squatted in the pine woods. A most miser 
able set all of them liars and thieves ! If I had known 
who it was, I m sure I should n t have let Milly go over. 
Such families oughtn t to be encouraged; there oughtn t 
a thing to be done for them; we shouldn t encourage them 
to stay in the neighborhood. They always will steal from 
off the plantations, and corrupt the negroes, and get drunk, 
and everything else that s bad. There s never a woman 
of decent character among them, that ever I heard of; and 

128 DEED 

if you were my daughter, I shouldn t let you go near 

"Well, I m not your daughter, thank fortune!" said 
Nina, whose graces always rapidly declined in controversies 
with her aunt, "and so I shall do as I please. And I 
don t know what you pious people talk so for; for Christ 
went with publicans and sinners, I m sure." 

"Well," said Aunt Nesbit, "the Bible says we mustn t 
cast pearls before swine; and when you ve lived to be as 
old as I am, you 11 know more than you do now. Every 
body knows that you can t do anything with these people. 
You can t give them Bibles nor tracts, for they can t read. 
I ve tried it, sometimes, visiting them, and talking to 
them; but it didn t do them any good. I always thought 
there ought to be a law passed to make em all slaves, and 
then there would be somebody to take care of them." 

"Well, I can t see," said Nina, "how it s their fault. 
There isn t any school where they could send their chil 
dren, if they wanted to learn ; and then, if they want to 
work, there s nobody who wants to hire them. So what 
can they do 1 " 

"I m sure I don t know," said Aunt Nesbit, in that 
tone which generally means "I don t care." "All I know 
is, that I want them to get away from the neighborhood. 
Giving to them is just like putting into a bag with holes. 
I m sure I put myself to a great inconvenience on their 
account to-day; for if there s anything I do hate, it is 
having things irregular. And to-day is the day for clear 
starching the caps and such a good, bright, sunny day ! 
and to-morrow, or any other day of the week, it may 
rain. Always puts me all out to have things that I ve 
laid out to do put out of their regular order. I d been 
willing enough to have sent over some old things; but 
why they must needs take Milly s time, just as if the 
funeral couldn t have got ready without her! These fu- 


nerals are always miserable drunken times with them! 
And then, who knows, she may catch the smallpox, or 
something or other. There s never any knowing what 
these people die of." 

"They die of just such things as we do," said Nina. 
"They have that in common with us, at any rate." 

"Yes; but there s no reason for risking our lives, as I 
know of especially for such people when it don t do 
any good." 

"Why, aunt, what do you know against these folks? 
Have you ever known of their doing anything wicked 1 " 

"Oh, I don t know that I know anything against this 
family in particular; but I know the whole race. These 
squatters I ve known them ever since I was a girl in 
Virginia. Everybody that knows anything knows exactly 
what they are. There isn t any help for them, unless, as 
I said before, they were made slaves; and then they could 
be kept decent. You may go to see them, if you like, 
but /don t want my arrangements to be interfered with on 
their account." 

Mrs. Nesbit was one of those quietly persisting people 
whose yielding is like the stretching of an india-rubber 
band, giving way only to a violent pull, and going back to 
the same place \vhen the force is withdrawn. She seldom 
refused favors that were urged with any degree of impor 
tunity; not because her heart was touched, but simply be 
cause she seemed not to have force enough to refuse; and 
whatever she granted was always followed by a series of 
subdued lamentations over the necessity which had wrung 
them from her. 

Nina s nature was so vehement and imperious, when 
excited, that it was a disagreeable fatigue to cross her. 
Mrs. Nesbit, therefore, made amends by bemoaning herself 
as we have seen. Nina started up hastily, on seeing her 
pony brought round to the door; and soon arrayed in her 

VOL. i. 

130 DRED 

riding-dress, she was cantering through the pine woods in 
high spirits. The day was clear and beautiful. The floor 
of the woodland path was paved with a thick and cleanly 
carpet of the fallen pine leaves. And Harry was in attend 
ance with her, mounted on another horse, and riding but 
a very little behind; not so much so but what his mistress 
could, if she would, keep up a conversation with him. 

"You know this Old Tiff, Harry P> 

"Oh yes, very well. A very good, excellent creature, 
and very much the superior of his master, in most re 
spects. " 

"Well, he says his mistress came of a good family." 

"I shouldn t wonder," said Harry. "She always had 
a delicate appearance, very different from people in their 
circumstances generally. The children, too, are remark 
ably pretty, well-behaved children; and it s a pity they 
could n t be taught something, and not grow up and go on 
the miserable ways of these poor whites ! " 

"Why don t anybody ever teach them? " said Nina. 

"Well, Miss Nina, you know how it is: everybody has 
his own work and business to attend to there are no 
schools for them to go to there s no work for them to 
do. In fact, there don t seem to be any place for them 
in society. Boys generally grow up to drink and swear. 
And as for girls, they are of not much account. So it 
goes on from generation to generation." 

" This is so strange, and so different from what it is in 
the northern states ! Why, all the children go to school 
there the very poorest people s children! Why, a great 
many of the first men, there, were poor children! Why 
can t there be some such thing here 1 ? " 

"Oh, because people are settled in such a scattering way 
they can t have schools. All the land that s good for any 
thing is taken up for large estates. And then, these poor 
folks that are scattered up and down in between, it s 


nobody s business to attend to them, and they can t attend 
to themselves; and so they grow up, and nobody knows 
how they live, and everybody seems to think it a pity they 
are in the world. I ve seen those sometimes that would 
be glad to do something, if they could find anything to do. 
Planters don t want them on their places they d rather 
have their own servants. If one of them wants to be a 
blacksmith, or a carpenter, there s no encouragement. 
Most of the large estates have their own carpenters and 
blacksmiths. And there s nothing for them to do, unless 
it is keeping dogs to hunt negroes; or these little low 
stores where they sell whiskey, and take what s stolen 
from the plantations. Sometimes a smart one gets a place 
as overseer on a plantation. Why, I ve heard of their 
coming so low as actually to sell their children to traders, 
to get a bit of bread." 

"What miserable creatures! But do you suppose it can 
be possible that a woman of any respectable family can 
have married a man of this sort ? " 

"Well, I don t know, Miss Nina; that might be. You 
see, good families sometimes degenerate; and when they 
get too poor to send their children off to school, or keep 
any teachers for them, they run down very fast. This 
man is not bad looking, and he really is a person who, if 
he had had any way opened to him, might have been a 
smart man, and made something of himself and family; 
and when he was young and better looking, I should n t 
wonder if an uneducated girl, who had never been off a 
plantation, might have liked him; he was fully equal, I 
dare say, to her brothers. You see, Miss Nina, when 
money goes, in this part of the country, everything goes 
with it; and when a family is not rich enough to have 
everything in itself, it goes down very soon." 

"At any rate, I pity the poor things," said Nina. "I 
don t despise them, as Aunt Nesbit does." 

132 DEED 

Here Nina, observing the path clear and uninterrupted 
for some distance under the arching pines, struck her horse 
into a canter, and they rode on for some distance without 
speaking. Soon the horse s feet splashed and pattered on 
the cool, pebbly bottom of a small, shallow stream, which 
flowed through the woods. This stream went meandering 
among the pines like a spangled ribbon, sometimes tying 
itself into loops, leaving open spots almost islands of 
green graced by its waters. Such a little spot now 
opened to the view of the two travelers. It was some 
thing less than a quarter of an acre in extent, entirely 
surrounded by the stream, save only a small neck of about 
four feet, which connected it to the mainland. 

Here a place had been cleared and laid off into a garden, 
which, it was evident, was carefully tended. The log 
cabin which stood in the middle was far from having the 
appearance of wretchedness which Nina had expected. It 
was almost entirely a dense mass of foliage, being covered 
with the intermingled drapery of the Virginia creeper and 
the yellow jessamine. Two little borders, each side of the 
house, were blooming with flowers. Around the little 
island the pine-trees closed in unbroken semicircle, and 
the brook meandered away through them, to lose itself 
eventually in that vast forest of swampy land which girdles 
the whole Carolina shore. The whole air of the place was 
so unexpectedly inviting, in its sylvan stillness and beauty, 
that Nina could not help checking her horse, and exclaim 

"I m sure, it s a pretty place. They can t be such 
very forsaken people, after all." 

"Oh, that s all Tiff s work," said Harry. "He takes 
care of everything outside and in, while the man is off 
after nobody knows what. You d be perfectly astonished 
to see how that old creature manages. He sews, and he 
knits, and works the garden, does the housework, and 


teaches the children. It s a fact! You ll notice that 
they have n t the pronunciation or the manners of these 
wild white children; and I take it to be all Tiff s watch 
fulness, for that creature has n t one particle of selfishness 
in him. He just identifies himself with his mistress and 
her children." 

By this time Tiff had perceived their approach, and 
came out to assist them in dismounting. 

"De Lord above bless you, Miss Gordon, for coming to 
see my poor missis ! Ah ! she is lying dere just as beauti 
ful, just as she was the very day she was married! All 
her young looks come back to her; and Milly, she done 
laid her out beautiful! Lord, I s wanting somebody to 
come and look at her, because she has got good blood, if she 
be poor. She is none of your common sort of poor whites, 
Miss Nina. Just come in; come in, and look at her." 

Nina stepped into the open door of the hut. The bed 
was covered with a clean white sheet, and the body, 
arrayed in a long white night-dress brought by Milly, lay 
there so very still, quiet, and lifelike, that one could 
scarcely realize the presence of death. The expression of 
exhaustion, fatigue, and anxiety, which the face had lat 
terly worn, had given place to one of tender rest, shaded 
by a sort of mysterious awe, as if the closed eyes were 
looking on unutterable things. The soul, though sunk 
below the horizon of existence, had thrown back a twilight 
upon the face radiant as that of the evening heavens. 

By the head of the bed the little girl was sitting, dressed 
carefully, and her curling hair parted in front, apparently 
fresh from the brush; and the little boy was sitting beside 
her, his round blue eyes bearing an expression of subdued 

Cripps was sitting at the foot of the bed, evidently 
much the worse for liquor; for spite of the exhortation of 
Tiff, he had applied to the whiskey-jug immediately on 

134 DEED 

his departure. Why not 1 He was uncomfortable 
gloomy; and every one, under such circumstances, natu 
rally inclines towards some source of consolation. He 
who is intellectual reads and studies; he who is industri 
ous flies to business; he who is affectionate seeks friends; 
he who is pious, religion ; but he who is none of these 
what has he but his whiskey? Cripps made a stupid, 
staring inclination toward Nina and Harry, as they entered, 
and sat still, twirling his thumbs and muttering to himself. 

The sunshine fell through the panes on the floor, and 
there came floating in from without the odor of flowers 
and the song of birds. All the Father s gentle messengers 
spoke of comfort ; but he as a deaf man heard not as a 
blind man did not regard. For the rest, an air of neatness 
had been imparted to the extreme poverty of the room by 
the joint efforts of Milly and Tiff. 

Tiff entered softly, and stood by Nina, as she gazed. 
He had in his hand several sprays of white jessamine, and 
he laid one on the bosom of the dead. 

"She had a hard walk of it," he said, "but she s got 
home! Don t she look peaceful? poor lamb!" 

The little, thoughtless, gay coquette had never looked 
on a sight like this before. She stood with a fixed, tender 
thoughtfulness, unlike her usual gayety, her riding-hat 
hanging carelessly by its strings from her hands, her loose 
hair drooping over her face. She heard some one entering 
the cottage, but she did not look up. She was conscious 
of some one looking over her shoulder, and thought it was 

"Poor thing! how young she looks," she said, "to have 
had so much trouble ! " Her voice trembled, and a tear 
stood in her eye. There was a sudden movement; she 
looked up, and Clayton was standing by her. 

She looked surprised, and the color deepened in her 
cheek, but was too ingenuously and really in sympathy 


with the scene before her even to smile. She retained his 
hand a moment, and turned to the dead, saying, in an 
undertone, "See here!" 

" I see, " he said. " Can I be of service 1 " 

"The poor thing died last night," said Nina. "I sup 
pose some one might help about a funeral. Harry," she 
said, walking softly towards the door, and speaking low, 
"you provide a coffin; have it made neatly." 

"Uncle," she said, motioning Tiff towards her, "where 
would they have her buried ? " 

"Buried?" said Tiff. "0 Lord! buried!" And he 
covered his face with his hard hands, and the tears ran 
through his fingers. 

" Lord, Lord ! Well, it must come, I know, but pears 
like I couldn t! Laws, she s so beautiful! Don t, to 
day! don t!" 

"Indeed, uncle," said Nina tenderly, "I m sorry I 
grieved you; but you know, poor fellow, that must come." 

"I s known her ever since she s dat high! " said Tiff. 
"Her har was curly, and she used to war such pretty red 
shoes, and come running after me in de garden. * Tiff, 
Tiff, she used to say and dar she is now, and troubles 
brought her dar! Lord, what a pretty gal she was! 
Pretty as you be, Miss Nina. But since she married dat 
ar," pointing with his thumb over his shoulder, and 
speaking confidentially, "everything went wrong. I s 
held her up did all I could ; and now here she is ! " 

"Perhaps," said Nina, laying her hand on his, "perhaps 
she s in a better place than this." 

" Oh, Lord, dat she is ! She told me dat when she died. 
She saw de Lord at last, she did so! Dem s her last 
words. Tiff, she says, I see Him, and He will give 
me rest. Tiff, she says, I d been asleep, you know, 
and I kinder felt something cold on my hand, and I woke 
up right sudden, and dar she was, her eyes so bright, look- 

136 DEED 

ing at me and breathing so hard; and all she says was, 
Tiff, I ve seen Him, and I know now why I ve suffered 
so; He s gwine to take me, and give me rest! ; 

"Then, my poor fellow, you ought to rejoice that she is 

"Deed I does," said Tiff; "yet I s selfish. I wants 
to be dere too, I does only I has de chil en to care for." 

"Well, my good fellow," said Nina, "we must leave 
you now. Harry will see about a coffin for your poor 
mistress; and whenever the funeral is to be, our carriage 
will come over, and we will all attend." 

"Lord bless you, Miss Gordon! Dat ar too good on 
ye! My heart s been most broke, linking nobody cared 
for my poor young mistress! you s too good, dat you is! " 

Then drawing near to her, and sinking his voice, he 
said: " Bout de mourning, Miss Nina. He ain t no 
count, you know body can see how tis with him very 
plain. But missis was a Peyton, you know; and I s a 
Peyton, too. I naturally feels a sponsibility he couldn t 
be spected fur to. I s took de ribbons off of Miss 
Fanny s bonnet, and done de best I could trimming it up 
with black crape what Milly gave me; and I s got a band 
of black crape on Master Teddy s hat; and I lowed to put 
one on mine, but there wasn t quite enough. You know, 
missis, old family servants always wars mourning. If 
missis just be pleased to look over my work! Now, dis 
yer is Miss Fanny s bonnet. You know I can t be spected 
for to make it like a milliner." 

" They are very well indeed, Uncle Tiff. " 

"Perhaps, Miss Nina, you can kind of touch it over." 

"Oh, if you like, Uncle Tiff, I ll take them all home, 
and do them for you." 

"The Lord bless you, Miss Gordon! Dat ar was just 
what I wanted, but was most fraid to ask you. Some 
gay young ladies doesn t like to handle black." 


"Ah! Uncle Tiff, I ve no fears of that sort; so put it 
in the wagon, and let Milly take it home." So saying, 
she turned and passed out of the door where Harry was 
standing holding the horses. A third party might have 
seen, by the keen, rapid glance with which his eye rested 
upon Clayton, that he was measuring the future probability 
which might make him the arbiter of his own destiny 
the disposer of all that was dear to him in life. As for 
Nina, although the day before a thousand fancies and 
coquetries would have colored the manner of her meeting 
Clayton, yet now she was so impressed by what she had 
witnessed, that she scarcely appeared to know that she had 
met him. She placed her pretty foot on his hand, and 
let him lift her on to the saddle, scarcely noticing the act, 
except by a serious, graceful inclination of her head. 

One great reason of the ascendency which Clayton had 
thus far gained over her was that his nature, so quiet, 
speculative, and undemonstrative, always left her such 
perfect liberty to follow the more varying moods of her 
own. A man of a different mould would have sought to 
awake her out of the trance would have remarked on her 
abstracted manner, or rallied her on her silence. Clayton 
merely mounted his horse and rode quietly by her side, 
w r hile Harry, passing on before them, was soon out of 



THEY rode on in silence, till their horses feet again 
clattered in the clear, pebbly water of the stream. Here 
Nina checked her horse, and pointing round the circle of 
pine forests, and up the stream, overhung with bending 
trees and branches, said: 

"Hush! listen! " Both stopped, and heard the sway 
ing of the pine-trees, the babble of the waters, the cawing 
of distant crows, and the tapping of the woodpecker. 

"How beautiful everything is!" she said. "It seems 
to me so sad that people must die ! I never saw anybody 
dead before, and you don t know how it makes me feel! 
To think that that poor woman was just such a girl as I 
am, and used to be just so full of life, and never thought 
any more than I do that she should lie there all cold and 
dead! Why is it things are made so beautiful, if we must 
die 1 " 

"Remember what you said to the old man, Miss Nina. 
Perhaps she sees more beautiful things now." 

"In heaven 1 ? Yes; I wish we knew more about 
heaven, so that it would seem natural and homelike to us, 
as this world does. As for me, I can t feel that I ever 
want to leave this world I enjoy living so much! I 
can t forget how cold her hand was! I never felt anything 
like that cold ! 

In all the varying moods of Nina, Clayton had never 
seen anything that resembled this. But he understood the 
peculiar singleness and earnestness of nature which made 


any one idea, or impression, for a time absolute in her 
mind. They turned their horses into the woodpath, and 
rode on in silence. 

"Do you know," said she, "it s such a change coming 
from New York to live here 1 Everything is so unformed, 
so wild, and so lonely ! I never saw anything so lonesome 
as these woods are. Here you can ride miles and miles, 
hours and hours, and hear nothing but the swaying of the 
pine-trees, just as you hear it now. Our place (you never 
were there, were you ?) stands all by itself, miles from any 
other; and I ve been for so many years used to a thickly 
settled country that it seems very strange to me. I can t 
help thinking things look rather deserted and desolate, 
here. It makes me rather sober and sad. I don t know 
as you 11 like the appearance of our place. A great many 
things are going to decay about it; and yet there are some 
things that can t decay; for papa was very fond of trees 
and shrubbery, and we have a good deal more of them 
than usual. Are you fond of trees 1 " 

"Yes; I m almost a tree-worshiper. I have no respect 
for a man who can t appreciate a tree. The only good 
thing I ever heard of Xerxes was, that he was so trans 
ported with the beauty of a plane-tree, that he hung it 
with chains of gold. This is a little poetical island in the 
barbarism of those days." 

"Xerxes!" said Nina. "I believe I studied something 
about him in that dismal, tedious history at Mme. Ar- 
daine s; but nothing so interesting as that, I m sure. But 
what should he hang gold chains on a tree for ? " 

" Twas the best way he knew of expressing his good 
opinion. " 

"Do you know," said Nina, half checking her horse 
suddenly, "that I never had the least idea that these men 
were alive that we read about in these histories, or that 
they had any feelings like ours ? We always studied the 

140 DRED 

lessons, and learnt the hard names, and how forty thou 
sand were killed on one side, and fifty thousand on the 
other; and we don t know any more about it than if we 
never had. That s the way we girls studied at school, 
except a few poky ones, who wanted to be learned, or 
meant to be teachers." 

"An interesting resume, certainly," said Clayton, laugh 

"But how strange it is," said Nina, "to think that all 
those folks we read about are alive now, doing something 
somewhere; and I get to wondering where they are 
Xerxes, and Alexander, and the rest of them. Why, they 
were so full of life they kept everything in commotion 
while in this world; and I wonder if they have been keep 
ing a-going ever since. Perhaps Xerxes has been looking 
round at our trees nobody knows. But here we are 
coming now to the beginning of our grounds. There, you 
see that holly hedge! Mamma had that set out. She 
traveled in England, and liked the hedges there so much 
that she thought she would see what could be done with 
our American holly. So she had these brought from the 
woods, and planted. You see it all grows wild, now, 
because it hasn t been cut for many years. And this live- 
oak avenue my grandfather set out. It s my pride and 

As she spoke, a pair of broad gates swung open, and 
they cantered in beneath the twilight arches of the oaks. 
Long wreaths of pearly moss hung swinging from the 
branches, and although the sun now was at high noon, a 
dewy, dreamy coolness seemed to rustle through all the 
leaves. As Clayton passed in, he took off his hat, as he 
had often done in foreign countries in cathedrals. 

" Welcome to Canema ! " said she, riding up to him, 
and looking up frankly into his face. 

The air, half queenly, half childish, with which this 


was said, was acknowledged by Clayton with a grave smile, 
as he replied, bowing, 

"Thank you, madam." 

"Perhaps," she added in a grave tone, "you ll be sorry 
that you ever came here." 

"What do you mean by that?" he replied. 

"I don t know; it just came into my head to say it. 
We none of us ever know what s going to come of what 
we do." 

At this instant, a violent clamor, like the cawing of a 
crow, rose on one side of the avenue; and the moment 
after Tomtit appeared, caracoling, and cutting a somerset; 
his curls flying, his cheeks glowing. 

"Why, Tomtit, what upon earth is this for?" said 

"Laws, missis, deres been a gen leman waiting for you 
at the house these two hours. And missis she s done got 
on her best cap, and gone down in the parlor for him." 

Nina felt herself blush to the roots of her hair, and was 
vexed and provoked to think she did so. Involuntarily 
her eyes met Clayton s. But he expressed neither curios 
ity nor concern. 

"What a pretty drapery this light moss makes!" said 
he. "I wasn t aware that it grew so high up in the 

"Yes; it is very pretty," said Nina abstractedly. 

Clayton, however, had noticed both the message and 
the blush, and was not so ill informed as Nina supposed as 
to the whole affair, having heard from a New York corre 
spondent of the probability that an arrival might appear 
upon the field about this time. He was rather curious to 
watch the development produced by this event. They 
paced up the avenue, conversing in disconnected intervals, 
till they came out on the lawn which fronted the mansion 
a large, gray, three-story building, surrounded on the 

142 DRED 

four sides by wide balconies of wood. Access was had to 
the lower of these by a broad flight of steps. And there 
Nina saw, plain enough, her Aunt Nesbit in all the pro 
prieties of cap and silk gown, sitting, making the agree 
able to Mr. Carson. 

Mr. Frederic Augustus Carson was one of those nice 
little epitomes of conventional society which appear to 
such advantage in factitious life, and are so out of place in 
the undress, sincere surroundings of country life. Nina 
had liked his society extremely well in the drawing-rooms 
and opera-houses of New York. But in the train of 
thought inspired by the lonely and secluded life she was 
now leading, it seemed to her an absolute impossibility 
that she could, even in coquetry and in sport, have allowed 
such an one to set up pretensions to her hand and heart. 
She was vexed with herself that she had done so, and 
therefore not in the most amiable mood for a meeting. 
Therefore, when, on ascending the steps, he rushed pre 
cipitately forward, and, offering his hand, called her Nina, 
she was ready to die with vexation. She observed, too, 
a peculiar swelling and rustling of Aunt Nesbit s plumage, 
an indescribable air of tender satisfaction, peculiar to 
elderly ladies who are taking an interest in an affair of the 
heart, which led her to apprehend that the bachelor had 
commenced operations by declaring his position to her. 
T was with some embarrassment that Nina introduced 
Mr. Clayton, whom Aunt Nesbit received with a most 
stately curtsy,, and Mr. Carson with a patronizing bow; 

"Mr. Carson has been waiting for you these two hours," 
said Aunt Nesbit. 

"Very warm riding, Nina," said Mr. Carson, observing 
her red cheeks. "You ve been riding too fast, I fear. 
You must be careful of yourself. I ve known people bring 
on very grave illnesses by overheating the blood ! " 

Clayton seated himself near the door, and seemed to be 


intent on the scene without. And Carson, drawing his 
chair close to Nina, asked, in a confidential undertone, 
" Who is that gentleman ? " 

"Mr. Clayton, of Claytonville, " said Nina, with as 
much hauteur as she could assume. 

" Ah, yes ! Hem ! hem ! I ve heard of the family 
a very nice family a very worthy young man ex 
tremely, I m told. Shall be happy to make his acquaint 
ance. " 

"I beg," said Nina, rising, "the gentlemen will excuse 
me a moment or two." 

Clayton replied by a grave bow, while Mr. Carson, with 
great empressement, handed Nina to the door. The mo 
ment it was closed, she stamped, with anger, in the entry. 

"The provoking fool! to take these airs with me! And 
I } too I deserve it! What on earth could make me 
think I could tolerate that man 1 " 

As if Nina s cup were not yet full, Aunt Nesbit followed 
her to her chamber with an air of unusual graciousness. 

"Nina, my dear, he has told me all about it! and I 
assure you I m very much pleased with him! " 
" Told you all about what 1 " said Nina. 
"Why, your engagement, to be sure! I m delighted to 
think you ve done so well! I think your Aunt Maria, 
and all of them, will be delighted! Takes a weight of 
care off my mind ! " 

"I wish you wouldn t trouble yourself about me, or my 
affairs, Aunt Nesbit!" said Nina. "And as for this old 
pussy-cat, with his squeaking boots, I won t have him 
purring round me, that s certain! So provoking, to take 
that way towards me ! Call me Nina, and talk as though 
he were lord paramount of me, and everything here! I 11 
let him know ! " 

"Why, Nina! Seems to me this is very strange con 
duct ! I am very much astonished at you ! " 

144 DEED 

"I dare say you are, aunt! I never knew the time I 
didn t astonish you! But this man I detest! " 

"Well, then, my dear, what were you engaged to him 

"Engaged! Aunt, for pity s sake, do hush! Engaged! 
I should like to know what a New York engagement 
amounts to ! Engaged at the opera ! Engaged for a 
joke! Why, he was my bouquet-holder! The man is 
just an opera libretto! He was very useful in his time. 
But who wants him afterwards 1 " 

"But, my dear Nina, this trifling with gentlemen s 
hearts ! " 

"I ll warrant his heart! It s neither sugar nor salt, 
I 11 assure you. I 11 tell you what, aunt, he loves good 
eating, good drinking, nice clothes, nice houses, and good 
times generally ! and he wants a pretty wife as a part of 
a whole; and he thinks he ll take me. But he is mis 
taken. Calling me Nina, indeed ! Just let me have a 
chance of seeing him alone! I ll teach him to call me 
Nina ! I 11 let him know how things stand! " 

"But, Nina, you must confess you ve given him occa 
sion for all this." 

"Well, supposing I have? I ll give him occasion for 
something else, then ! " 

"Why, my dear," said Aunt Nesbit, "he came on to 
know when you 11 fix the day to be married! " 

"Married! Oh, my gracious! Just think of the crea 
ture s talking about it! Well, it is my fault, as you say; 
but I 11 do the best I can to mend it." 

"Well, I m really sorry for him," said Aunt Nesbit. 

"You are, aunt? Why don t you take him yourself, 
then ? You are as young and good looking as he is. " 

"Nina, how you talk!" said Aunt Nesbit, coloring and 
bridling. "There was a time when I wasn t bad looking, 
to be sure; but that s long since past." 


"Oh, that s because you always dress in stone-color and 
drab," said Nina, as she stood brushing and arranging her 
curls. "Come, now, and go down, aunt, and do the best 
you can till I make my appearance. After all, as you say, 
I m the most to blame. There s no use in being vexed 
with the old soul. So, aunt, do be as fascinating as you 
can; see if you can t console him. Only remember how 
you used to turn off lovers, when you were of my age." 
"And who is this other gentleman, Nina?" 
"Oh, nothing, only he is a friend of mine. A very 
good man good enough for a minister, any day, aunt, 
and not so stupid as good people generally are, either." 
"Well, perhaps you are engaged to him? " 
"No, I am not; that is to say, I won t be to anybody. 
This is an insufferable business! I like Mr. Clayton, 
because he can let me alone, don t look at me in that 
abominably delighted way all the time, and dance about, 
calling me Nina ! He and I are very good friends, that s 
all. I m not going to have any engagements anywhere." 
"Well, Nina, I 11 go down, and you make haste." 
While the gentlemen and Aunt Nesbit were waiting in 
the saloon, Carson made himself extremely happy and at 
home. It was a large, cool apartment, passing, like a 
hall, completely through the centre of the house. Long 
French window s, at either end, opened on to balconies. 
The pillars of the balconies were draped and garlanded 
with wreaths of roses now in full bloom. The floor of the 
room was the polished mosaic of different colors to which 
we have formerly alluded. Over the mantelpiece was 
sculptured in oak the Gordon arms. The room was wain 
scoted with dark wood, and hung with several fine paint 
ings, by Copley and Stuart, of different members of the 
family. A grand piano, lately arrived from New York, 
was the most modern-looking article in the room. Most 
of the furniture was of heavy dark mahogany, of an an- 

VOL. I. 

146 DRED 

tique pattern. Clayton sat by the door, still admiring the 
avenue of oaks which were to be seen across the waving 
green of the lawn. 

In about half an hour Nina reappeared in a flossy cloud 
of muslin, lace, and gauzy ribbons. Dress was one of 
those accomplishments for which the little gypsy had a 
natural instinct; and without any apparent thought, she 
always fell into that kind of color and material which 
harmonized with her style of appearance and character. 
There was always something floating and buoyant about 
the arrangement of her garments and drapery ; so that to 
see her move across the floor gave one an airy kind of 
sensation, like the gambols of thistle-down. Her brown 
eyes had a peculiar resemblance to a bird s; and this effect 
was increased by a twinkling motion of the head, and a 
fluttering habit of movement peculiar to herself; so that 
when she swept by in rosy gauzes, and laid one ungloved 
hand lightly on the piano, she seemed to Clayton much 
like some saucy bird very good indeed if let alone, but 
ready to fly on the slightest approach. 

Clayton had the rare faculty of taking in every available 
point of observation, without appearing to stare. 

" Pon my word, Nina," said Mr. Carson, coming towards 
her with a most delighted air, "you look as if you had 
fallen out of a rainbow ! " 

Nina turned away very coolly, and began arranging her 

"Oh, that s right! " said Carson; "give us one of your 
songs. Sing something from the Tavorita. You know 
it s my favorite opera," said he, assuming a most senti 
mental expression. 

"Oh, I m entirely out of practice I don t sing at all. 
I m sick of all those opera-songs!" And Nina skimmed 
across the floor, and out of the open door by which Clay 
ton was lounging, and began busying herself amid the 


flowers that wreathed the porch. In a moment Carson 
was at her heels; for he was one of those persons who 
seem to think it a duty never to allow any one to be quiet, 
if they can possibly prevent it. 

" Have you ever studied the language of flowers, Nina ? " 
said he. 

"No, I don t like to study languages." 

" You know the signification of a full-blown rose 1 " said 
he, tenderly presenting her with one. 

Nina took the rose, coloring with vexation, and then, 
plucking from the bush a rose of two or three days bloom, 
whose leaves were falling out, she handed it to him, and 

"Do you understand the signification of this 1 ? " 

"Oh, you have made an unfortunate selection! This 
rose is all falling to pieces ! " said Mr. Carson innocently. 

"So I observed," said Nina, turning away quickly; 
then making one of her darting movements, she was in 
the middle of the saloon again, just as the waiter an 
nounced dinner. 

Clayton rose gravely, and offered his arm to Aunt Nes- 
bit; and Nina found herself obliged to accept the delighted 
escort of Mr. Carson, who, entirely unperceiving, was in 
the briskest possible spirits, and established himself com 
fortably between Aunt Nesbit and Nina. 

"You must find it very dull here very barren coun 
try, shockingly so ! What do you find to interest yourself 
in 1 " said he. 

" Will you take some of this gumbo 1 " replied Nina. 

"I always thought," said Aunt Nesbit, "it was a good 
plan for girls to have a course of reading marked out to 
them when they left school." 

"Oh, certainly," said Carson. "I shall be happy to 
mark out one for her. I ve done it for several young 

148 . DEED 

At this moment Nina accidentally happened to catch 
Clayton s eye, which was fixed upon Mr. Carson with an 
air of quiet amusement greatly disconcerting to her. 

"Now," said Mr. Carson, "I have no opinion of making 
blues of young ladies; but still, I think, Mrs. Nesbit, that 
a little useful information adds greatly to their charms. 
Don t you? 7 

"Yes," said Mrs. Nesbit. "I ve been reading Gib 
bon s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, lately. 7 

"Yes, 77 said Nina, "aunt s been busy about that ever 
since I can remember. 77 

"That s a very nice book, 77 said Mr. Carson, looking 
solemnly at Nina; "only, Mrs. Nesbit, ain t you afraid of 
the infidel principle? I think, in forming the minds of 
the young, you know, one cannot be too careful. 77 

" Why, he struck me as a very pious writer ! 77 said Aunt 
Nesbit innocently. "I m sure, he makes the most reli 
gious reflections, all along. I liked him particularly on 
that account." 

It seemed to Nina that, without looking at Clayton, 
she was forced to meet his eye. No matter whether she 
directed her attention to the asparagus or the potatoes, it 
was her fatality always to end by a rencounter with his 
eye; and she saw, for some reason or other, the conversa 
tion was extremely amusing to him. 

"For my part," said Nina, "I don t know what sort of 
principles Aunt Nesbit s history, there, has; but one thing 
I m pretty certain of, that / m not in any danger from 
any such thick, close-printed, old, stupid-looking books as 
that. I hate reading, and I don t intend to have my mind 
formed; so that nobody need trouble themselves to mark 
out courses for me ! What is it to me what all these old 
empires have been, a hundred years ago ? It is as much 
as I can do to attend to what is going on now." 

"For my part," said Aunt Nesbit, "I ve always re- 


gretted that I neglected the cultivation of my mind when 
I was young. I was like Nina, here, immersed in vanity 
and folly." 

"People always talk," said Nina, reddening, "as if 
there was but one kind of vanity and folly in the world. 
I think there can be as much learned vanity and folly as 
we girls have ! " And she looked at Clayton indignantly, 
as she saw him laughing. 

"I agree with Miss Gordon, entirely. There is a great 
deal of very stupid respectable trifling, which people pursue 
under the head of courses of reading," he said. "And I 
don t wonder that most compends of history which are stud 
ied in schools should inspire any lively young lady with 
a lifelong horror, not only of history, but of reading." 

"Do you think so?" said Nina, with a look of inex 
pressible relief. 

"I do, indeed," said Clayton. "And it would have 
been a very good thing for many of our historians if they 
had been obliged to have shaped their histories so that 
they would interest a lively schoolgirl. We literary men, 
then, would have found less sleepy reading. There is no 
reason why a young lady, who would sit up all night read 
ing a novel, should not be made to sit up all night with 
a history. I 11 venture to say there s no romance can 
come up to the gorgeousness and splendor, and the dra 
matic power, of things that really have happened. All 
that s wanting is to have it set before us with an air of 

"But, then," said Nina, "you d have to make the his 
tory into a romance." 

" Well, a good historical romance is generally truer than 
a dull history, because it gives some sort of conception of 
the truth, whereas the dull history gives none." 

"Well, then," said Nina, "I 11 confess, now, that about 
all the history I do know has been got from Walter Scott s 

150 DEED 

novels. I always told our history teacher so; but she 
insisted upon it that it was very dangerous reading." 

"For my part," said Mrs. Nesbit, "I ve a great horror 
of novel-reading, particularly for young ladies. It did me 
a great deal of harm when I was young. It dissipates the 
mind; it gives false views of life." 

"Oh, law!" said Nina. "We used to write composi 
tions about that, and I ve got it all by heart how it 
raises false expectations, and leads people to pursue phan 
toms, rainbows, and meteors, and all that sort of thing ! " 

"And yet," said Clayton, "all these objections would 
lie against perfectly true history, and the more so just in 
proportion to its truth. If the history of Napoleon Bona 
parte were graphically and minutely given, it would lie 
open to the very same objections. It would produce the 
very same cravings for something -out of the commonplace 
course of life. There would be the same dazzling mixture 
of bad and good qualities in the hero, and the same lassi 
tude and exhaustion after the story was finished. And 
common history does not do this, simply because it is not 
true does not produce a vivid impression of the reality 
as it happened." 

Aunt Nesbit only got an indefinite impression, from this 
harangue, that Clayton was defending novel-reading, and 
felt herself called to employ her own peculiar line of rea 
soning to meet it, which consisted in saying the same thing 
over and over, at regular intervals, without appearing to 
hear or notice anything said in reply. Accordingly, she 
now drew herself up, with a slightly virtuous air, and 
said to Mr. Clayton, 

"I must say, after all, that I don t approve of novel- 
reading. It gives false views of life, and disgusts young 
people with their duties." 

"I was only showing, madam, that the same objection 
would apply to the best written history," said Clayton. 


"I think novel-reading does a great deal of harm," re 
joined Aunt Nesbit. "I never allow myself to read any 
work of fiction. I m principled against it. 7 

"For my part," said Nina, "I wish I could find that 
kind of history you are speaking of; I believe I could read 

" T would be very interesting history, certainly," said 
Mr. Carson. "I should think it would prove a very 
charming mode of writing. I wonder somebody don t 
produce one." 

"For my part," said Aunt Nesbit, "I confine myself 
entirely to what is practically useful. Useful information 
is all I desire." 

"Well, I suppose, then, I m very wicked," said Nina; 
"but I don t like anything useful. Why, I ve sometimes 
thought, when I ve been in the garden, that the summer- 
savory, sage, and sweet-marjoram were just as pretty as 
many other flowers; and I couldn t see any reason why I 
shouldn t like a sprig of one of them for a bouquet, except 
that I ve seen them used for stuffing turkeys. Well, now, 
that seems very bad of me, don t it? " 

"That reminds me," said Aunt Nesbit, "that Eose has 
been putting sage into this turkey again, after all that I 
said to her. I believe she does it on purpose." 

At this moment Harry appeared at the door, and re 
quested to speak to Nina. 

After a few moments whispered conversation she came 
back to the table, apparently disconcerted. 

"I m so sorry so very sorry!" she said. "Harry 
has been riding all round the country to find a minister to 
attend the funeral, this evening. It will be such a disap 
pointment to that poor fellow! You know the negroes 
think so much of having prayers at the grave ! " 

"If no one else can be found to read prayers, I will," 
said Clayton. 

152 DEED 

"Oh, thank you! will you, indeed?" said Nina. 
"I m glad of it, now, for poor Tiff s sake. The coach 
will be out at five o clock, and we 11 ride over together, 
and make as much of a party as we can." 

"Why, child," said Aunt Nesbit to Nina, after they 
returned to the parlor, "I did not know that Mr. Clayton 
was an Episcopalian." 

"He isn t," said Nina. "He and his family all attend 
the Presbyterian church." 

"How strange that he should offer to read prayers!" 
said Aunt Nesbit. "I don t approve of such things, for 
my part." 

" Such things as what ? " 

"Countenancing Episcopal errors. If we are right, 
they are wrong, and we ought not to countenance them." 

"But, aunt, the burial service is beautiful." 

"Don t approve of it! " said Aunt Nesbit. 

"Why, you know, as Clayton isn t a minister, he would 
not feel like making an extempore prayer." 

"Shows great looseness of religious principle," said 
Aunt Nesbit. "Don t approve of it! " 



THE golden arrows of the setting sun were shooting 
hither and thither through the pine woods, glorifying 
whatever they touched with a life not its own. A chorus 
of birds were pouring out an evening melody, when a little 
company stood around an open grave. With instinctive 
care for the feeling of the scene Nina had arrayed herself 
in a black silk dress, and plain straw bonnet with black 
ribbon a mark of respect to the deceased remembered 
and narrated by Tiff for many a year after. 

Cripps stood by the head of the grave, with that hope 
less, imbecile expression with which a nature wholly gross 
and animal often contemplates the symbols of the close of 
mortal existence. Tiff stood by the side of the grave, his 
white hat conspicuously draped with black crape, and a 
deep weed of black upon his arm. The baby, wrapped in 
an old black shawl, was closely fondled in his bosom, 
while the two children stood weeping bitterly at his side. 
The other side of the grave stood Mr. Carson and Mr. 
Clayton, while Milly, Harry, and several plantation slaves 
were in a group behind. 

The coffin had been opened, that all might take that last 
look, so coveted, yet so hopeless, which the human heart 
will claim on the very verge of the grave. It was but a 
moment since the coffin had been closed; and the burst of 
grief which shook the children was caused by that last 
farewell. As Clayton, in a musical voice, pronounced the 
words, "I am the resurrection and the life," Nina wept 

154 DEED 

and sobbed as if the grief had been her own; nor did she 
cease to weep during the whole touching service. It was 
the same impulsive nature which made her so gay in other 
scenes that made her so sympathetic here. When the 
whole was over she kissed the children, and shaking 
hands with Old Tiff, promised to come and see them on 
the morrow. After which, Clayton led her to the carriage, 
into which he and Carson followed her. 

"Upon my word," said Carson briskly, "this has been 
quite solemn ! Really, a very interesting funeral, indeed ! 
I was delighted with the effect of our Church service; in 
such a romantic place, too! ; Twas really very interesting. 
It pleases me, also, to see young ladies in your station, 
Nina, interest themselves in the humble concerns of the 
poor. If young ladies knew how much more attractive it 
made them to show a charitable spirit, they would culti 
vate it more. Singular-looking person, that old negro ! 
Seems to be a good creature. Interesting children, too! 
I should think the woman must have been pretty when 
she was young. Seen a great deal of trouble, no doubt, 
poor thing! It s a comfort to hope she is better off now." 

Nina was filled with indignation at this monologue; not 
considering that the man was giving the very best he had 
in him, and laboring assiduously at what he considered his 
vocation, the prevention of half an hour of silence in any 
spot of earth where he could possibly make himself heard. 
The same excitement which made Nina cry made him talk. 
But he was not content with talking, but insisted upon 
asking Nina, every moment, if she didn t think it an 
interesting occasion, and if she had not been much im 

"I don t feel like talking, Mr. Carson," said Nina. 

"Oh ah yes, indeed! You ve been so deeply 
affected yes. Naturally does incline one to silence. 
Understand your feelings perfectly. Very gratifying to 


me to see you take such a deep interest in your fellow 
creatures. " 

Nina could have pushed him out of the carriage. 

"For my part," continued Carson, "I think we don t 
reflect enough about this kind of things I positively 
don t. It really is useful sometimes to have one s 
thoughts turned in this direction. It does us good." 

Thus glibly did Carson proceed to talk away the impres 
sion of the whole scene they had witnessed. Long before 
the carriage reached home Nina had forgotten all her 
sympathy in a tumult of vexation. She discovered an 
increasing difficulty in making Carson understand, by any 
degree of coolness, that he was not acceptable ; and saw 
nothing before her but explanations in the very plainest 
terms, mortifying and humiliating as that might be. His 
perfect self-complacent ease, and the air with which he 
constantly seemed to appropriate her as something which 
of right belonged to himself, filled her with vexation. 
But yet her conscience told her that she had brought it 
upon herself. 

"I won t bear this another hour!" she said to herself, 
as she ascended the steps toward the parlor. "All this 
before Clayton, too ! What must he think of me 1 " But 
they found tea upon the table and Aunt Nesbit waiting. 

"It s a pity, madam, you were not with us. Such an 
interesting time ! " said Mr. Carson, launching, with great 
volubility, into the tide of discourse. 

"It wouldn t have done for me at all," said Mrs. Nes 
bit. "Being out when the dew falls always brings on 
hoarseness. I have been troubled in that way these two 
or three years. Now I have to be very careful. Then 
I m timid about riding in a carriage with John s driving." 

"I was amused enough," said Nina, "with Old Hun 
dred s indignation at having to get out the carriage and 
horses to go over to what he called a cracker funeral. I 

156 DEED 

really believe, if he could have upset us without hurting 
himself, he would have done it." 

"For my part," said Aunt Nesbit, "I hope that family 
will move off before long. It s very disagreeable having 
such people round." 

"The children look very pretty and bright," said Nina. 

"Oh, there s no hope for them! They 11 grow up and 
be just like their parents. I ve seen that sort of people 
all through and through. I don t wish them any evil; 
only I don t want to have anything to do with them! " 

"For my part," said Nina, "I m sorry for them. I 
wonder why the legislature, or somebody, don t have 
schools, as they do up in New York State? There isn t 
anywhere there where children can t go to school, if they 
wish to. Besides, aunt, these children really came from 
an old family in Virginia. Their old servant-man says 
that their mother was a Peyton." 

"I don t believe a word of it! They ll lie all of 
them. They always do." 

"Well," said Nina, "I shall do something for these 
children, at any rate." 

"I quite agree with you, Nina. It shows a very excel 
lent spirit in you," said Mr. Carson. "You 11 always find 
me ready to encourage everything of that sort." 

Nina frowned and looked indignant. But to no pur 
pose. Mr. Carson went on remorselessly with his really 
good-hearted rattle, till Nina, at last, could bear it no 

" How dreadfully warm this room is ! " said she, spring 
ing up. "Come, let s go back into the parlor." 

Nina was as much annoyed at Clayton s silence, and his 
quiet, observant reserve, as with Carson s forth- putt ing. 
Rising from table, she passed on before the company, with 
a half-flying trip, into the hall, which lay now cool, calm, 
and breezy, in the twilight, with the odor of the pillar- 


roses floating in at the window. The pale white moon, 
set in the rosy belt of the evening sky, looked in at the 
open door. Nina would have given all the world to be 
still; but well aware that stillness was out of the ques 
tion she determined to select her own noise, and sitting 
down at the piano, began playing very fast, in a rapid, 
restless, disconnected manner. Clayton threw himself on 
a lounge by the open door; while Carson busied himself 
fluttering the music, opening and shutting music-books, 
and interspersing running commentaries and notes of admi 
ration on the playing. 

At last, as if she could bear it no longer, she rose, with 
a very decided air, from the piano, and facing about to 
wards Mr. Carson, said : 

"It looks very beautiful outdoors. Don t you want to 
come out? There s a point of view at the end of one 
of the paths, where the moon looks on the water, that I 
should like to show you." 

"Won t you catch cold, Nina? 7 said Aunt Nesbit. 

"No, indeed! I never catch cold," said Nina, spring 
ing into the porch, and taking the delighted Mr. Carson s 
arm. And away she went with him, with almost a skip 
and a jump, leaving Clayton tete-a-tete with Aunt Nesbit. 

Nina went so fast that her attendant was almost out of 
breath. They reached a little knoll, and there Nina 
stopped suddenly, and said, "Look here, Mr. Carson; I 
have something to say to you." 

"I should be delighted, my dear Nina! I m perfectly 
charmed ! " 

" No no if you please don t ! " said Nina, put 
ting up her hand to stop him. "Just wait till you hear 
what I have to say. I believe you did not get a letter 
which I wrote you a few days ago, did you ? " 

"A letter! no, indeed. How unfortunate !" 

"Very unfortunate for me!" said Nina; "and for you, 

158 DEED 

too. Because, if you had, it would have saved you and 
me the trouble of this interview. I wrote that letter to 
tell you, Mr. Carson, that I cannot think of such a thing 
as an engagement with you! That I ve acted very wrong 
and very foolishly; but that I cannot do it. In New 
York, where everybody and everything seemed to be tri 
fling, and where the girls all trifled with these things, I was 
engaged just for frolic nothing more. I had no idea 
what it would amount to ; no idea what I was saying, nor 
how I should feel afterwards. But every hour since I ve 
been home, here, since I ve been so much alone, has made 
me feel how wrong it is. Now, I m very sorry, I m sure. 
But I must speak the truth, this time. But it is I 
can t tell you how disagreeable to me to have you treat 
me as you have since you ve been here! " 

"Miss Gordon!" said Mr. Carson, "I am positively 
astonished ! I I don t know what to think ! " 

"Well, I only want you to think I am in earnest; and 
that, though I can like you very well as an acquaintance, 
and shall always wish you well, yet anything else is just 
as far out of the question as that moon there is from us. 
I can t tell you how sorry I am that I ve made you all 
this trouble. I really am," said she good naturedly; 
"but please now to understand how we stand." She 
turned, and tripped away. 

"There!" said she to herself, "at any rate, I ve done 
one thing ! " 

Mr. Carson stood still, gradually recovering from the 
stupor into which this communication had thrown him. 
He stretched himself, rubbed his eyes, took out his watch 
and looked at it, and then began walking off with a very 
sober pace in the opposite direction from Nina. Happily 
constituted mortal that he was, nothing ever could be sub 
tracted from his sum of complacence that could not be 
easily balanced by about a quarter of an hour s considera- 


tion. The walk through the shrubbery in which he was 
engaged was an extremely pretty one, and wound along on 
the banks of the river through many picturesque points of 
view, and finally led again to the house by another ap 
proach. During the course of this walk Mr. Carson had 
settled the whole question for himself. In the first place, 
he repeated the comfortable old proverb, that there were as 
good fish in the sea as ever were caught. In the second 
place, as Mr. Carson was a shrewd business man, it oc 
curred to him, in this connection, that the plantation was 
rather run down, and not a profitable acquisition. And 
in the third place, contemplating Nina as the fox of old 
did his bunch of sour grapes, he began to remember that, 
after all, she was dressy, expensive, and extravagant. 
Then, as he did not want that imperturbable good nature 
which belongs to a very shallow capability of feeling, he 
said to himself that he should n t like the girl a bit the 
less. In fact, when he thought of his own fine fortune, 
his house in New York, and all the accessories which 
went to make up himself, he considered her, on the whole, 
as an object of pity; and by the time that he ascended 
the balcony steps again, he was in as charitable and Chris 
tian a frame as any rejected suitor could desire. 

He entered the drawing-room. Aunt Nesbit had ordered 
candles, and was sitting up with her gloves on, alone. 
What had occurred during his walk he did not know; but 
we will take our readers into confidence. 

Nina returned to the house Avith the same decided air 
with which she went out, and awakened Mr. Clayton from 
a reverie with a brisk little tap of her fan on his shoulder. 

"Come up here with me," she said, "and look out of 
the library window, and see this moonlight." 

And up she went, over the old oaken staircase, stopping 
on each landing, and beckoning to Clayton, with a whim 
sically authoritative gesture, threw open the door of a 

160 DEED 

large, black-wainscoted room, and ushered him in. The 
room lay just above the one where they had been sitting, 
and, like that, opened on to the veranda by long-sashed 
windows, through which, at the present moment, a flood 
of moonlight was pouring. A large mahogany writing- 
table, covered with papers, stood in the middle of the 
room, and the moon shone in so brightly that the pattern 
of the bronze inkstand and the color of the wafers and 
sealing-wax were plainly revealed. The window com 
manded a splendid view of the river over the distant tree- 
tops, as it lay shimmering and glittering in the moonlight. 

"Isn t that a beautiful sight?" said Nina in a hurried 

" Very beautiful ! " said Clayton, sitting down in the 
large lounging- chair before the window, and looking out 
with the abstracted air which was habitual with him. 

After a moment s thought, Nina added, with a sudden 

" But, after all, that was not what I wanted to speak to 
you about. I wanted to see you somewhere, and say a 
few words which it seems to me it is due to you that I 
should say. I got your last letter, and I m sure I am 
very much obliged to your sister for all the kind things 
she says; but I think you must have been astonished at 
what you have seen since you have been here." 

"Astonished at what? " said Clayton quietly. 

"At Mr. Carson s manners towards me." 

"I have not been astonished at all," replied Clayton 

"I think, at all events," said Nina, "I think it is no 
more than honorable that I should tell you exactly how 
things have stood. Mr. Carson has thought that he had 
a right to me and mine; and I was so foolish as to give 
him reason to think so. The fact is, that I have been 
making a game of life, and saying and doing anything and 


everything that came into my head, just for frolic. It 
don t seem to me that there has been anything serious or 
real about me, until very lately. Somehow, my acquaint 
ance with you has made things seem more real to me than 
they ever did before; and it seems to me now perfectly 
incredible, the way we girls used to play and trifle with 
everything in the world. Just for sport, I was engaged 
to that man; just for sport, too, I have been engaged to 
another one." 

"And," said Clayton, breaking the silence, "just for 
sport have you been engaged to me ? " 

"No," said Nina, after a few moments silence, "not 
in sport, certainly; but yet, not enough in earnest. I 
think I am about half waked up. I don t know myself. 
I don t know where or what I am, and I want to go back 
into that thoughtless dream. I do really think it s too 
hard to take up the responsibility of living in good earnest. 
Now, it seems to me just this, that I cannot be bound 
to anybody. I want to be free. I have positively broken 
all connection with Mr. Carson; I have broken with an 
other one, and I wish " 

" To break with me 1 " said Clayton. 

"I don t really know as I can say what I do wish. It 
is a very different thing from any of the others, but there s 
a feeling of dread, and responsibility, and constraint, about 
it; and though I think I should feel very lonesome now 
without you, and though I like to get your letters, yet it 
seems to me that I cannot be engaged, that is a most 
dreadful feeling to me." 

"My dear friend," said Clayton, "if that is all, make 
yourself easy. There s no occasion for our being engaged. 
If you can enjoy being with me and writing to me, why, 
do it in the freest way, and to-morrow shall take care for 
the things of itself. You shall say what you please, do 
what you please, write when you please, and not write 

VOL. I. 

162 DRED 

when you please, and have as many or as few letters as 
you like. There can be no true love without liberty." 

"Oh, I m sure I m much obliged to you! " said Nina, 
with a sigh of relief. "And now, do you know, I like 
your sister s postscript very much; but I can t tell what it 
is in it, for the language is as kind as can be, that would 
give me the impression that she is one of those very proper 
kind of people, that would be dreadfully shocked if she 
knew of all my goings on in New York." 

Clayton could hardly help laughing at the instinctive 
sagacity of this remark. 

"I m sure I don t know," said he, "where you could 
have seen that, in so short a postscript, too. " 

"Do you know, I never take anybody s handwriting into 
my hand that I don t feel an idea of them come over me, 
just as you have when you see people? And that idea 
came over me when I read your sister s letter." 

"Well, Nina, to tell you the truth, sister Anne is a 
little bit conventional a little set in her ways ; but, 
after all, a large-hearted, warm-hearted woman. You 
would like each other, I know." 

"I don t know about that," said Nina. "I am very 
apt to shock proper people. Somehow or other, they have 
a faculty of making me contrary." 

"Well, but, you see, Anne isn t merely a conventional 
person; there s only the slightest crust of conventionality, 
and a real warm heart under it." 

"Whereas," said Nina, "most conventional people are 
like a shallow river, frozen to the bottom. But now, 
really, I should like very much to have your sister come 
and visit us, if I could think that she would come as any 
other friend; but, you know, it isn t very agreeable to 
have anybody come to look one over to see if one will do." 

Clayton laughed at the naive undisguised frankness of 
this speech. 


"You see," said Nina, "though I m nothing but an 
ignorant schoolgirl, I m as proud as if I had everything 
to be proud of. Now, do you know, I don t much like 
writing to your sister, because I don t think I write very 
good letters ! I never could sit still long enough to write. " 

"Write exactly as you talk," said Clayton. "Say just 
what comes into your head, just as you would talk it. I 
hope you will do that much, for it will be very dull writ 
ing all on one side." 

"Well," said Nina, rising, with animation, "now, Mr. 
Edward Clayton, if we have settled about this moonlight, 
we may as well go down into the parlor, where Aunt Nesbit 
and Mr. Carson are tete-a-tete." 

" Poor Carson ! " said Clayton. 

"Oh, don t pity him! Good soul! he s a man that 
one night s rest would bring round from anything in crea 
tion. He s so thoroughly good natured! Besides, I shall 
like him better, now. He did not use to seem to me so 
intrusive and disagreeable. We girls used to like him very 
well, he was such a comfortable, easy-tempered, agreeable 
creature, always brisk and in spirits, and knowing every 
thing that went on. But he is one of those men that I 
think would be really insufferable, if anything serious were 
the matter with me. Now, you heard how he talked 
coming from that funeral ! Do you know, that if he had 
been coming from my funeral it would have been just so ? " 

"Oh no, not quite so bad," said Clayton. 

"Indeed he is," said Nina. "That man! why, he just 
puts me in mind of one of these brisk blue-flies, whirring 
and whisking about, marching over pages of books, and 
alighting on all sorts of things. When he puts on that 
grave look, and begins to talk about serious things, he 
actually looks to me just as a fly does when he stands 
brushing his wings on a Bible ! But come, let s go down 
to the good soul." 

164 DEED 

Down they went, and Nina seemed like a person en 
franchised. Never had she seemed more universally gra 
cious. She was chatty and conversable with Carson, and 
sang over for him all her old opera-songs, with the better 
grace that she saw that Clayton was listening intently. 

As they were sitting and conversing together, the sound 
of a horse s heels was heard coming up the avenue. 

"Who can that be, this time of night?" said Nina, 
springing to the door, and looking out. 

She saw Harry hastening in advance to meet her, and 
ran down the veranda steps to speak to him. 

"Harry, who is coming? 7 

"Miss Nina, it s Master Tom," said Harry in a low 

" Tom ! Oh, mercy ! " said Nina in a voice of appre 
hension. "What sent him here, now?" 

"What sends him anywhere? " said Harry. 

Nina reascended the steps, and stood looking apprehen 
sively towards the horseman, who approached every moment 
nearer. Harry came up on the veranda, and stood a little 
behind her. In a few moments the horse was up before 
the steps. 

"Hallo, there!" said the rider. "Come, take my 
horse, you rascal ! " 

Harry remained perfectly still, put his arms by his side, 
and stood with a frowning expression on his forehead. 

"Don t you hear?" said the horseman, throwing him 
self off, with an oath. "Come here, boy, and take my 
horse ! " 

"For pity s sake," said Nina, turning and looking in 
Harry s face, "don t have a scene here! Do take his 
horse, quick ! Anything to keep him quiet ! " 

With a sudden start, Harry went down the steps, and 
took the bridle from the hand of the newly arrived in 


The horseman sprang up the steps. 

"Hallo, Nin, is this you?" And Nina felt herself 
roughly seized in the arms of a shaggy greatcoat, and 
kissed by lips smelling of brandy and tobacco. She faintly 
said, as she disengaged herself, 

"Tom, is it you?" 

" Yes, to be sure ! Who did you think it was 1 Devil 
ish glad to see me, ain t you 1 Suppose you was in hopes 
I wouldn t come! " 

"Hush, Tom, do! I am glad to see you. There are 
gentlemen in there; don t speak so loud!" 

" Some of your beaux, hey ? Well, I am as good a fel 
low as any of em! Free country, I hope! No, I ain t 
going to whisper, for any of them. So now, Nin If 
there isn t old Starchy, to be sure!" said he, as Aunt 
Nesbit came to the door. "Hallo, old girl, how are 

"Thomas!" said Mrs. Nesbit softly, "Thomas!" 

"None of your Thomasing me, you old pussy-cat! 
Don t you be telling me, neither, to hush! I won t hush, 
neither! I know what I am about, I guess! It s my 
house as much as it is Nin s, and I m going to do as I 
have a mind to here! I ain t going to have my mouth shut 
on account of her beaux! So, clear out, I tell you, and 
let me come in ! " and Aunt Nesbit gave back. He 
pushed his way into the apartment. 

He was a young man, about twenty-five years old, who 
evidently had once possessed advantages of face and figure; 
but every outline in the face was bloated and rendered un 
meaning by habits of constant intemperance. His dark eyes 
had that muddy and troubled expression which in a young 
man too surely indicates the habitual consciousness of inward 
impurity. His broad, high forehead was flushed and pim 
pled, his lips swollen and tumid, and his whole air and 
manner gave painful evidence that he was at present too 

166 DRED 

far under the influence of stimulants justly to apprehend 
what he was about. 

Nina followed him, and Clayton was absolutely shocked 
at the ghastly paleness of her face. She made an uncer 
tain motion towards him, as if she would have gone to him 
for protection. Clayton rose; Carson, also; and all stood 
for a moment in silent embarrassment. 

"Well, this is a pretty business, to be sure! Nina," 
said he, turning to her, with a tremendous oath, "why 
don t you introduce me 1 ? Pretty way to meet a brother 
you have n t seen for three or four years ! You act as if 
you were ashamed of me ! Confound it all ! introduce me, 
I say ! " 

"Tom, don t speak so!" said Nina, laying her hand on 
his arm, in a soothing tone. "This gentleman is Mr. 
Clayton; and Mr. Clayton," she said, lifting her eyes to 
him, and speaking in a trembling voice, "this is my 

Mr. Clayton offered his hand, with the ordinary expres 
sions of civility. 

" Mr. Carson, " said Nina, " my brother. " 

There was something inexpressibly touching and affect 
ing in the manner in which this was said. One other per 
son noticed it. Harry, who had given the horse to a ser 
vant, stood leaning against the doorway, looking on. A 
fiery gleam, like that of a steel blade, seemed to shoot from 
his blue eyes; and each time that Nina said "my brother," 
he drew in his breath, as one who seeks to restrain himself 
in some violent inward emotion. 

"I suppose you don t any of you want to see me much," 
said the newcomer, taking a chair, and sitting down dog 
gedly in the centre of the group, with his hat on his head. 

" Well, I have as good a right as anybody to be here ! " 
he continued, spitting a quid of tobacco at Aunt Nesbit s 


"For my part, I think relations ought to have natural 
affection, and be glad to see one another. Well, now, 
you can see, gentlemen, with your own eyes, just how it 
is here ! There s my sister, there. You better believe 
me, she has n t seen me for three years ! Instead of ap 
pearing glad, or anything, there she sits, all curled up in 
a corner! Won t come near me, more than if I had the 
plague! Come here, now, you little kit, and sit in my 
lap ! " 

He made a movement to pull Nina towards him, which 
she resisted with an air of terror, looking at her aunt, 
who, more terrified still, sat with her feet drawn up on 
the sofa, as if he had been a mad dog. There was reason 
enough for the terror which seemed to possess them both. 
Both had too vivid recollections of furious domestic hurri 
canes that had swept over the family when Tom Gordon 
came home. Nina remembered the storms of oaths and 
curses that had terrified her when a child; the times that 
she had seen her father looking like death, leaning his 
head on his hand, and sighing as only those sigh who have 
an only son worse than dead. It is no wonder, therefore, 
that Nina, generally courageous and fearless as she was, 
should have become fearful and embarrassed at his sudden 

"Tom," she said softly, coming up to him, "you haven t 
been to supper. Hadn t you better come out? " 

"No you don t! " said he, catching her round the waist, 
and drawing her on his knee. "You won t get me out of 
the room, now! I know what I am about! Tell me," 
continued he, still holding her on his knee, "which of 
them is it, Nin ? which is the favored one 1 " 

Clayton rose and went out on the veranda, and Mr. 
Carson asked Harry to show him into his room. 

"Hallo! shelling out there, are they? Well, Nin, to 
tell the truth, I am deuced hungry. For my part, I don t 

168 DEED 

see what the thunder keeps my Jim out so long. I sent 
him across to the post-office. He ought to have been back 
certainly as soon as I was. Oh, here he comes ! Hallo ! 
you dog, there ! " said he, going to the door, where a very 
black negro was dismounting. "Any letters?" 

"No, mas r. I spect de mails have gin up. Der ain t 
been no letters dere, for no one, for a month. It is some 
quatic disorganization of dese yer creeks, I s pose. So de 
letter- bags goes anywhere cept der right place." 

"Confound it all! I say, you Nin," turmng round, 
"why don t you offer a fellow some supper? Coming 
home, here, in my own father s house, everybody acts as 
if they were scared to death ! No supper ! " 

"Why, Tom, I ve been asking you, these three or four 
times. " 

"Bless us!" said Jim, whispering to Harry. "De 
mischief is, he ain t more than half primed! Tell her to 
give him a little more brandy, and after a little we will 
get him into bed as easy as can be ! " 

And the event proved so; for on sitting down to sup 
per, Tom Gordon passed regularly through all the stages 
of drunkenness; became as outrageously affectionate as he 
had been before surly, kissed Nina and Aunt Nesbit, cried 
over his sins and confessed his iniquities, laughed and cried 
feebly, till at last he sank in his chair asleep. 

"Dar, he is done for, now!" said Jim, who had been 
watching the gradual process. "Now, just you and I, 
let s tote him off," said he to Harry. 

Nina, on her part, retired to a troubled pillow. She 
foresaw nothing before her but mortification and embarrass 
ment, and realized more than ever the peculiar loneliness 
of her situation. For all purposes of consultation and aid, 
Aunt Nesbit was nobody in her esteem, and Nina was 
always excited and vexed by every new attempt that she 
made to confide in her. 


"Now, to-morrow," she said to herself, as she lay down, 
" no one knows what will turn up. He will go round as 
usual, interfering with everything threatening and fright 
ening my servants, and getting up some difficulty with 
Harry. Dear me ! it seems to me life is coming over me 
hard enough, and all at once, too ! " 

As Nina said this she saw some one standing by her 
bed. It was Milly, who stooped tenderly over her, 
smoothing and arranging the bedclothes in a motherly 
way. " Is that you, Milly ? Oh, sit down here a minute ! 
I am so troubled! It seems to me I ve had so much 
trouble to-day ! Do you know, Tom came home to-night 
so drunk ! Oh, dear Milly, it was horrid ! Do you know, 
he took me in his arms and kissed me ; and though he is 
my only brother, it s perfectly dreadful to me! And I 
feel so worried and so anxious ! " 

"Yes, lamb, I knows all about dese yer things," said 
Milly. "I s seen him many and many times." 

"The worst of it is," said Nina, "that I don t know 
what he will do to-morrow and before Mr. Clayton, too ! 
It makes me feel so helpless, ashamed, and mortifies me 

"Yes, yes, chile," said Milly, gently stroking her head. 

"I stand so much alone!" said Nina. "Other girls 
have some friend or relation to lean on; but I have no 
body ! " 

"Why don t you ask your Father to help you?" said 
Milly to Nina in a gentle tone. 

"Aakwho?" said Nina, lifting up her head from the 

" Your Father ! " said Milly, with a voice of solemnity. 
"Don t you know Our Father who art in Heaven ? You 
haven t forgot your prayers, I hope, honey." 

Nina looked at her with surprise. And Milly contin 
ued, "Now, if I was you, lamb, I would tell my Father 

170 DRED 

all about it. Why, chile, He loves you! He wouldn t 
like nothing better, now, than to have you just come to Him 
and tell Him all about your troubles, and He 11 make em 
all straight. That s the way I does, and I s found it 
come out right many and many a time." 

"Why, Milly, you wouldn t have me go to God about 
my little foolish affairs 1 " 

"Laws, chile, what should you go to Him bout, den? 
Sure dese are all de fairs you s got. 7 

"Well, but, Milly," said Nina apprehensively, "you 
know I ve been a very bad girl about religion. It s years 
and years since I ve said any prayers. At school, the 
girls used to laugh at anybody who said prayers; and so I 
never did. And since I ve neglected my heavenly Father 
when things went well with me, it would n t be fair to call 
on Him now, just because I ve got into trouble. I don t 
think it would be honorable." 

"De Lord bless dis yer chile! Do hear her talk! Just 
as if de heavenly Father didn t know all about you, and 
hadn t been a loving and watching you de whole time! 
Why, chile, He knows what poor foolish creatures we be; 
and He ain t noways surprised, nor put out. Why, laws, 
don t you know He s de good shepherd? And what you 
suppose dey has shepherds fur, cept de sheeps are all de 
time running away, and getting into trouble? Why, 
honey, dat s what dey s fur." 

"Well, but it is so long since I prayed, that I don t 
know anything how to pray, Milly." 

"Bless you, chile, who wanted you to pray? I never 
prays myself. Used to try, but I made such drefful poor 
work on it that I gin it up. Now, I just goes and talks 
to de Father, and tells Him anything and everything; and 
I think He likes it a great deal better. Why, He is just 
as willing to hear me now as if I was the greatest lady in 
the land. And He takes such an interest in all my poor 


fairs! Why, sometimes I go to Him when my heart is 
so heavy; and when I tells Him all about it, I comes 
away as light as a feather ! " 

"Well, but after I ve forgotten Him so many years! " 
"Why, honey, now just look yere! I member once, 
when you was a little weety thing, that you toddles down 
dem steps dere, and you slips away from dem dat was 
watching you, and you toddles away off into de grove, 
yonder, and dere you got picking flowers, and one thing 
and another, mighty tickled and peart. You was down dere 
joying yourself, till, by and by, your pa missed you; and 
den such another hunt as dere was ! Dere was a hurrying 
here, and a looking dere ; and finally your pa run down in 
de woods, and dere you d got stuck fast in de mud! both 
your shoes off, and well scratched with briers; and dere 
you stood a-crying, and calling your pa. I tell you he 
said dat ar was de sweetest music he ever heard in his life. 
I member he picked you up, and came up to de house 
kissing you. Now, dere twas, honey! You didn t call 
on your pa till you got into trouble. And laws, laws, 
chile, dat s de way with us all. We never does call on 
de Father till we gets into trouble; and it takes heaps and 
heaps of trouble, sometimes, to bring us round. Some 
time, chile, I 11 tell you my sperence. I s got a sperence 
on this point. But now, honey, don t trouble yourself 
no more; but just ask your Father to take care of your 
fairs, and turn over and go to sleep. And He 11 do it. 
Now you mind." 

So saying, Milly smoothed the pillow with anxious care, 
and kissing Nina on the forehead, departed. 



"I SAY, Nina," said her brother, coming in, the day 
after, from a survey he had been taking round the prem 
ises, "you want me here to manage this place. Every 
thing going at sixes and sevens; and that nigger of a 
Harry riding round with his boots shining. That fellow 
cheats you, and feathers his own nest well. I know! 
These white niggers are all deceitful." 

"Come, Tom, you know the estate is managed just as 
father left word to have it ; and Uncle John says that Harry 
is an excellent manager. I m sure nobody could have 
been more faithful to me ; and I am very well satisfied. " 

"Yes, I dare say. All left to you and the executors, 
as you call them; as if /were not the natural guardian of 
my sister! Then I come here to put up with that fellow s 
impudence ! " 

"Whose? Harry s? He is never impudent. He is 
always gentlemanly. Everybody remarks it." 

" Gentlemanly ! There it is, Nin ! What a fool you 
are to encourage the use of that word in connection w r ith 
any of your niggers! Gentleman, forsooth! And while 
he plays gentleman, who takes care? I tell you what, 
you 11 find one of these days how things are going on. 
But that s just the way! You never would listen to me, 
or pay the least attention to my advice." 

"Oh, Tom, don t talk about that don t! I never 
interfere about your affairs. Please leave me the right to 
manage mine in my own way." 


"And who is this Clayton that s hanging about here? 
Are you going to have him, or he you hey ? " 

"I don t know, 7 said Nina. 

"Because /, for one, don t like him; and I sha n t give 
my consent to let him have you. That other one is worth 
twice as much. He has one of the largest properties in 
New York. Joe Snider has told me about him. You 
shall have him." 

"I shall not have him, say what you please; and I 
shall have Mr. Clayton, if I choose ! " said Nina, with a 
heightened color. " You have no right to dictate to me of 
my own affairs; and I sha n t submit to it, I tell you 

" Highty-tighty ! We are coming up, to be sure ! " said 

"Moreover," said Nina, "I wish you to let everything 
on this place entirely alone; and remember that my ser 
vants are not your servants, and that you have no control 
over them whatever." 

"Well, we will see how you ll help yourself! I am 
not going to go skulking about on my father s own place 
as if I had no right or title there; and if your niggers 
don t look sharp, they 11 find out whether I am the master 
here or not, especially that Harry. If the dog dares so 
much as to lift his fingers to countermand any one of my 
orders, I d put a bullet through his head as soon as I 
would through a buck s. I give you warning! " 

"Oh, Tom, pray don t talk so!" said Nina, who really 
began to be alarmed. "What do you want to make me 
such trouble for 1 " 

The conversation was here suspended by the entrance of 
Milly. "If you please, Miss Nina, come and show me 
which of your muslins you wish to be done up, as I s 
starching for Miss Loo." 

Glad of an opportunity to turn the conversation, Nina 

174 DEED 

ran up to her room, whither she was followed by Milly, 
who shut the door, and spoke to her in mysterious tones. 
"Miss Nina, can t you make some errand to get Harry off 
the place for two or three days, while Mas r Tom s 
round ? " 

"But what right," said Nina, with heightened color, 
"has he to dictate to my servants, or me? or to interfere 
with any of our arrangements here 1 " 

"Oh, dere s no use talking about rights, honey. We 
must all do jest what we ken. Don t make much odds 
whether our rights is one way or t other. You see, chile, 
it s just here. Harry s your right hand. But you see, he 
ain t learnt to bend fore the wind, like the rest of us. He 
is spirity; he is just as full now as a powder-box; and 
Mas r Tom is bent on aggravating him. And, laws, chile, 
dere may be bloody work dere may so ! " 

"Why, do you think he d dare " 

"Chile, don t talk to me! Dare! yes; sure nough 
he will dare! Besides, dere s fifty ways young gentlemen 
may take to aggravate and provoke. And when flesh and 
blood can t bear it no longer, if Harry raises his hand, 
why, den shoot him down ! Nothing said nothing done. 
You can t help yourself. You won t want to have a law 
suit with your own brother; and if you did, twould n t 
bring Harry to life ! Laws, chile, ef I could tell you what 
I ve seen you don t know nothing bout it. Now, I 
tell you, get up some message to your uncle s plantation; 
send him off for anything or nothing; only have him 
gone ! And then speak your brother fair, and then maybe 
he will go off. But don t you quarrel! don t you cross 
him, come what may ! Dere ain t a soul on the place that 
can bar de sight on him. But then, you see, the rest dey 
all bends ! But, chile, you must be quick about it ! Let 
me go right off and find him. Just you come in the little 
back room, and I 11 call him in." 


Pale and trembling, Nina descended into the room; and 
in a few moments after Milly appeared, followed by Harry. 

"Harry!" said Nina in a trembling voice, "I want 
you to take your horse and go over to Uncle John s plan 
tation, and carry a note for me." 

Harry stood with his arms folded, and his eyes fixed 
upon the ground, and Nina continued, 

"And, Harry, I think you had better make some busi 
ness or errand to keep you away two or three days, or a 

"Miss Nina," said Harry, "the affairs of the place are 
very pressing now, and need overlooking. A few days 
neglect now may produce a great loss, and then it will be 
said that I neglected my business to idle and ride round 
the country." 

"Well, but, if I send you, I take the responsibility, 
and I 11 bear the loss. The fact is, Harry, I m afraid 
that you won t have patience to be here, now Tom is at 
home. In fact, Harry, I m afraid for your life! And 
now, if you have any regard for me, make the best arrange 
ment with the work you can, and be off. I 11 tell him 
that I sent you on business of my own, and I am going to 
write a letter for you to carry. It s the only safe way. 
He has so many ways in which he can provoke and insult 
you, that, at last, you may say or do something that will 
give him occasion against you; and I think he is deter 
mined to drive you to this." 

"Isn t this provoking, now? isn t this outrageous!" 
said Harry between his teeth, looking down, "that every 
thing must be left, and all because I haven t the right to 
stand up like a man, and protect you and yours ! " 

"It is a pity! it is a shame! " said Nina. "But, Harry, 
don t stop to think upon it; do go!" She laid her hand 
softly on his. " For my sake, now, be good be good ! " 

The room where they were standing had long windows, 

176 DRED 

which, opened, like those of the parlor, on the veranda,, 
and commanded a view of a gravel walk bordered with 
shrubbery. As Harry stood, hesitating, he started at see 
ing Lisette come tripping up the walk, balancing on her 
head a basket of newly ironed muslins and linens. Her 
trim little figure was displayed in a close-fitting gown of 
blue, a snowy handkerchief crossed upon her bust, and one 
rounded arm raised to steady the basket upon her head. 
She came tripping forward, with her usual airy motion, 
humming a portion of a song; and attracted, at the same 
moment, the attention of Tom Gordon and of her husband. 

" Pon my word, if that isn t the prettiest concern!" 
said Tom, as he started up and ran down the walk to meet 

" Good-morning, my pretty girl ! " he said. 

"Good-morning, sir," returned Lisette in her usual 
tone of gay cheerfulness. 

"Pray, who do you belong to, my pretty little puss! I 
think I ve never seen you on this place." 

"Please, sir, I m Harry s wife." 

"Indeed! you are, hey? Devilish good taste he has!" 
said he, laying his hand familiarly on her shoulder. 

The shoulder was pulled away, and Lisette moved rap 
idly on to the other side of the path, with an air of vexa 
tion which made her look rather prettier. 

"What, my dear, don t you know that I am your hus 
band s young master? Come, come!" he said, following 
her, and endeavoring to take hold of her arm. 

"Please let me alone!" said Lisette, coloring, and in a 
pettish, vexed tone. 

"Let you alone? No, that I sha n t, not while you ask 
it in such a pretty way as that ! " And again the hand 
was laid upon her shoulder. 

It must be understood that Harry had witnessed so far, 
in pantomime, this scene. He had stood with compressed 


lips, and eyes slowly dilating, looking at it. Nina, who 
was standing with her back to the window, wondered at 
the expression of his countenance. 

"Look there, Miss Nina!" he said. "Do you see my 
wife and your brother 1 " 

Nina turned, and in an instant the color mounted to her 
cheeks; her little form seemed to dilate, and her eyes 
flashed fire; and before Harry could see what she was 
doing, she was down in the gravel walk, and had taken 
Lisette s hand. 

" Tom Gordon, " she said, "I m ashamed of you ! Hush ! 
hush ! " she continued, fixing her eyes on him, and stamp 
ing her foot. "Dare to come to my place, and take such 
liberties here! You shall not be allowed to while I am 
mistress; and I am mistress! Dare to lay a finger on this 
girl while she is here under my protection! Come, 
Lisette ! " And she seized the trembling girl by the hand, 
and drew her along towards the house. 

Tom Gordon was so utterly confused at this sudden 
burst of passion in his sister that he let them go off with 
out opposition. In a few moments he looked after her, 
and gave a long, low whistle. 

"Ah! Pretty well up for her! But she ll find it s 
easier said than done, I fancy ! " And he sauntered up to 
the veranda, where Harry stood with his arms folded, and 
the veins in his forehead swelling with repressed emotion. 

"Go in, Lisette," said Nina; "take the things into my 
room, and I 11 come to you." 

"Ton my word, Harry," said Tom, coming up, and 
addressing Harry in the most insulting tone, "we are all 
under the greatest obligations to you for bringing such a 
pretty little fancy article here ! " 

"My wife does not belong to this place," said Harry, 
forcing himself to speak calmly. " She belongs to a Mrs. 
Le Clere, who has come into Belleville plantation. 

VOL. I. 

178 DRED 

"Ah! thank you for the information! I may take a 
fancy to buy her, and I d like to know who she belongs 
to. I ve been wanting a pretty little concern of that sort. 
She s a good housekeeper, isn t she, Harry? Does up 
shirts well? What do you suppose she could be got for? 
I must go and see her mistress." 

During this cruel harangue Harry s hands twitched and 
quivered, and he started every now and then, looking first 
at Nina, and then at his tormentor. He turned deadly 
pale; even his lips were of ashy whiteness; and with his 
arms still folded, and making no reply, he fixed his large 
blue eyes upon Tom; and, as it sometimes happened in 
moments of excitement and elevation, there appeared on 
the rigid lines of his face, at that moment, so strong a 
resemblance to Colonel Gordon, that Nina noticed and 
was startled by it. Tom Gordon noticed it also. It added 
fuel to the bitterness of his wrath; and there glared from 
his eyes a malignancy of hatred that was perfectly appall 
ing. The two brothers seemed like thunder- clouds oppos 
ing each other, and ready to dart lightning. Nina has 
tened to interfere. 

" Hurry, hurry, Harry ! I want that message carried. 
Do, pray, go directly ! " 

"Let me see," said Tom, "I must call Jim, and have 
my horse. Which is the way to that Belleville plantation ? 
I think I 11 ride over." And he turned and walked indo 
lently down the steps. 

"For shame, Tom! you won t! you can t! How can 
you want to trouble me so ? " said Nina. 

He turned and looked upon her with an evil smile, 
turned again, and was gone. 

"Harry, Harry, go quick! Don t you worry; there s 
no danger! " she added in a lower voice. "Mme. Le Clere 
never would consent." 

"There s no knowing!" said Harry, "never any know- 


ing! People act about money as they do about nothing 

"Then then I ll send and buy her myself!" said 

"You don t know how our affairs stand, Miss Nina," 
said Harry hurriedly. "The money couldn t be raised 
now for it, especially if I have to go off this week. It 
will make a great difference, my being here or not being 
here; and very likely Master Tom may have a thousand 
dollars to pay down on the spot. I never knew him to 
want money when his will was up. Great God! haven t 
I borne this yoke long enough ? " 

"Well, Harry," said Nina, "I ll sell everything I ve 
got my jewels everything. I 11 mortgage the planta 
tion, before Tom Gordon shall do this thing ! I m not 
quite so selfish as I ve always seemed to be. I know 
you ve made the sacrifice of body and soul to my interest; 
and I ve always taken it because I loved my ease, and was 
a spoiled child. But, after all, I know I ve as much 
energy as Tom has, when I am roused, and I 11 go over 
this very morning and make an offer for her. Only you 
be off. You can t stand such provocation as you get here; 
and if you yield, as any man will do, at last, then every 
thing and everybody will go against you, and I can t pro 
tect you. Trust to me. I m not so much of a child as 
I have seemed to be! You ll find I can act for myself, 
and you, too! There comes Mr. Clayton through the 
shrubbery that s right! Order two horses round to the 
door immediately, and we 11 go over there this morning." 

Nina gave her orders with a dignity as if she had been 
a princess, and in all his agitation Harry could not help 
marveling at the sudden air of womanliness which had 
come over her. 

"I could serve you," he said in a low voice, "to the 
last drop of my blood ! But, " he added in a tone which 

180 DEED 

made Nina tremble, "I hate everybody else! I hate your 
country ! I hate your laws ! " 

"Harry," said Nina, "you do wrong you forget your 

"Oh, I do wrong, do I? We are the people that are 
never to do wrong! People may stick pins in us, and 
stick knives in us, wipe their shoes on us, spit in our face 
ive must be amiable! we must be models of Christian 
patience ! I tell you, your father should rather have put 
me into quarters and made me work like a field-negro, 
than to have given me the education he did, and leave me 
under the foot of every white man that dares tread on 

Nina remembered to have seen her father in transports 
of passion, and was again shocked and startled to see the 
resemblance between his face and the convulsed face before 

"Harry," she said in a pitying, half -admonitory tone, 
"do think what you are saying! If you love me, be 

"Love you? You have always held my heart in your 
hand. That has been the clasp upon my chain. If it 
hadn t been for you, I should have fought my way to the 
North before now, or I would have found a grave on the 
road ! " 

"Well, Harry," said Nina, after a moment s thought, 
" my love shall not be a clasp upon any chain ; for as there 
is a God in heaven, I will set you free! I 11 have a bill 
introduced at the very next legislature, and I know what 
friend will see to it. So go, now, Harry, go ! " 

Harry stood a moment, then suddenly raised the hand 
of his little mistress to his lips, turned, and was gone. 

Clayton, who had been passing through the shrubbery, 
and who had remarked that Nina was engaged in a very 
exciting conversation, had drawn off, and stood waiting for 


her at the foot of the veranda steps. As soon as Nina saw 
him, she reached out her hand frankly, saying, "Oh, 
there, Mr. Clayton, you are just the person! Wouldn t 
you like to take a ride with me 1 " 

"Of course I should," said he. 

"Wait here a moment," said she, "till I get ready. 
The horses will be here immediately." And running up 
the steps, she passed quickly by him, and went into the 

Clayton had felt himself in circumstances of considerable 
embarrassment ever since the arrival of Tom Gordon, the 
evening before. He had perceived that the young man 
had conceived an instinctive dislike of himself, which he 
was at no particular pains to conceal; and he had found it 
difficult to preserve the appearance of one who does not 
notice. He did not wish to intrude upon Nina any em 
barrassing recognition of her situation, even under the 
guise of sympathy and assistance; and waited, therefore, 
till some word from her should authorize him to speak. 
He held himself, therefore, ready to meet any confidence 
which she might feel disposed to place in him ; not doubt 
ing, from the frankness of her nature, that she would soon 
find it impossible not to speak of what was so deeply in 
teresting to her. 

Nina soon reappeared, and mounting their horses, they 
found themselves riding through the same forest road that 
led to the cottage of Tiff, from which a divergent path 
went to the Belleville plantation. 

"I m glad to see you alone this morning, for many 
reasons," said Nina; "for I think I never needed a friend s 
help more. I m mortified that you should have seen what 
you did last night; but since you have, I may as well 
speak of it. The fact is, that my brother, though he is 
the only one I have, never did treat me as if he loved me. 
I can t tell what the reason is: whether he was jealous of 

182 DEED 

my poor father s love for me, or whether it was because I 
was a willful, spoiled girl, and so gave him reason to be set 
against me, or whatever the reason might be, he never 
has been kind to me long at a time. Perhaps he would 
be, if I would always do exactly as he says; but I am 
made as positive and willful as he is. I never have been 
controlled, and I can t recognize the right which he seems 
to assume to control me, and to dictate as to my own 
private affairs. He was not left my guardian; and though 
I do love him, I sha n t certainly take him as one. Now, 
you see, he has a bitter hatred, and a most unreasonable 
one, towards my Harry; and I had no idea, when I came 
home, in how many ways he had the power to annoy me. 
It does seem as if an evil spirit possessed them both when 
they get together; they seem as full of electricity as they 
can be, and I am every instant afraid of an explosion. 
Unfortunately for Harry, he has had a much superior edu 
cation to the generality of his class and station, and the 
situation of trust in which he has been placed has given 
him more the feelings of a free man and a gentleman than 
is usual; for, except Tom, there isn t one of our family 
circle that has n t always treated him with kindness, and 
even with deference; and I think this very thing angers 
Tom the more, and makes him take every possible occasion 
of provoking and vexing. I believe it is his intention to 
push Harry up to some desperate action; and when I see 
how frightfully they look at each other, I tremble for the 
consequences. Harry has lately married a very pretty 
wife, with whom he lives in a little cottage on the extrem 
ity of the Belleville estate; and this morning Tom hap 
pened to spy her, and it seemed to inspire him with a most 
ingenious plan to trouble Harry. He threatened to come 
over and buy her of Mme. Le Clere; and so, to quiet 
Harry, I promised to come over here before him, and make 
an offer for her. 7 


"Why, 7 said Clayton, "do you think her mistress 
would sell her 1 " 

"I can t say," said Nina. "She is a person I am ac 
quainted with only by report. She is a New Orleans 
creole who has lately bought the place. Lisette, I believe, 
hired her time of her. Lisette is an ingenious, active 
creature, and contrives, by many little arts and accomplish 
ments, to pay a handsome sum, monthly, to her mistress. 
Whether the offer of a large sum at once would tempt her 
to sell her is more than I know until it s tried. I should 
like to have Lisette, for Harry s sake." 

" And do you suppose your brother was really serious 1 " 

"I shouldn t be at all surprised if he were. But, seri 
ous or not serious, I intend to make the matter sure." 

"If it be necessary to make an immediate payment," 
said Clayton, " I have a sum of money which is lying idle 
in the bank, and it s but drawing a check which will be 
honored at sight. I mention this, because the ability to 
make an immediate payment may make the negotiation 
easier. You ought to allow me the pleasure of joining 
you in a good work." 

"Thank you," said Nina frankly. "It may not be 
necessary ; but if it should be, I will take it in the same 
spirit in which it is offered." 

After a ride of about an hour they arrived in the boun 
daries of Belleville plantation. In former days, Nina had 
known this as the residence of an ancient rich family, with 
whom her father was on visiting terms. She was therefore 
uncomfortably struck with the air of poverty, waste, and 
decay, everywhere conspicuous through the grounds. 

Nothing is more depressing and disheartening than the 
sight of a gradual decay of what has been arranged and 
constructed with great care ; and when Nina saw the dilapi 
dated gateway, the crushed and broken shrubbery, the gaps 
in the fine avenue where the trees had been improvidently 

184 DEED 

cut down for fire-wood, she could not help a feeling of 

"How different this place used to be when I came here 
as a child! 5 said she. "This madam, whatever her name 
is, can t be much of a manager." 

As she said this their horses came to the front of the 
house, in which the same marks of slovenly neglect were 
apparent. Blinds were hanging by one hinge; the door 
had sunk down into the rotten sill; the wooden pillars 
that supported it were decayed at the bottom; and the 
twining roses which once climbed upon them laid trailing, 
dishonored, upon the ground. The veranda was littered 
with all kinds of rubbish, rough boxes, saddles, bridles, 
overcoats; and various nondescript articles formed conven 
ient hiding-places and retreats, in which a troop of negro 
children and three or four dogs were playing at hide-and- 
go-seek with great relish and noise. On the alighting of 
Nina and Clayton at the door they all left their sports, 
and arranged themselves in a grinning row, to see the new 
comers descend. Nothing seemed to be further from the 
minds of the little troop than affording the slightest assist 
ance in the way of holding horses or answering questions. 
All they did was alternately to look at each other and the 
travelers, and grin. 

A tattered servant-man, with half a straw hat on his 
head, was at length raised by a call of Clayton, who took 
their horses having first distributed a salutation of kicks 
and cuffs among the children, asking where their manners 
were that they did n t show the gentleman and lady in. 
And Nina and Clayton were now marshaled by the whole 
seven of them into an apartment on the right of the great 
hall. Everything in the room appeared in an unfinished 
state. The curtains were half put up at the windows, and 
part lying in a confused heap on the chairs. The damp, 
mouldy paper, which hung loosely from the wall, had been 


torn away in some places, as if to prepare for repapering; 
and certain half-opened rolls of costly wall-paper lay on 
the table, on which appeared the fragment of some ancient 
luncheon; to wit, plates, and pieces of bread and cheese, 
dirty tumblers, and an empty bottle. It was difficult to 
find a chair sufficiently free from dust to sit down on. 
Nina sent up her card by one of the small fry, who, having 
got halfway up the staircase, was suddenly taken with the 
desire to slide down the banisters with it in his hand. Of 
course he dropped the card in the operation; and the 
whole group precipitated themselves briskly on to it, all 
in a heap, and fought, tooth and nail, for the honor of 
carrying it upstairs. They were aroused, however, by 
the entrance of the man with half a hat; who, on Nina s 
earnest suggestion, plunged into the troop, which ran, 
chattering and screaming like so many crows, to different 
parts of the hall, while he picked up the card, and with 
infinite good will beaming on his shining black face, went 
up with it, leaving Nina and Clayton waiting below. In 
a few moments he returned. 

"Missis will see de young lady upstairs. 57 

Nina tripped promptly after him, and left Clayton the 
sole tenant of the parlor for an hour. At length she re 
turned, skipping down the stairs, and opening the door 
with great animation. 

"The thing is done! she said. "The bill of sale will 
be signed as soon as we can send it over. 7 

"I had better bring it over myself, 77 said Clayton, "and 
make the arrangement. 77 

" So be it ! 77 said Nina. " But pray let us be delivered 
from this place ! Did you ever see such a desolate-looking 
house? I remember when I ve seen it a perfect paradise 
full of the most agreeable people. " 

" And pray what sort of a person did you find 1 " said 
Clayton, as they were riding homeward. 

186 DEED 

"Well," said Nina, "she s one of the tow-string order 
of women. Very slack-twisted, too, I fancy tall, snuffy, 
and sallow. Clothes looked rough-dry, as if they had 
been pulled out of a bag. She had a bright- colored Madras 
handkerchief tied round her head, and spoke French a 
little more through her nose than French people usually 
do. Flourished a yellow silk pocket-handkerchief. Poor 
soul! She said she had been sick for a week with tooth 
ache, and kept awake all night! So, one mustn t be criti 
cal ! One comfort about these French people is, that they 
are always ravis de vous voir, let what will turn up. 
The good soul was really polite, and insisted on clearing 
all the things off from a dusty old chair for me to sit down 
in. The room was as much at sixes and sevens as the rest 
of the house. She apologized for the whole state of things 
by saying that they could not get workmen out there to do 
anything for her; and so everything is left in the second 
future tense; and the darkeys, I imagine, have a general 
glorification in the chaos. She is one of the indulgent 
sort, and I suspect she 11 be eaten up by them like the 
locusts. Poor thing ! she is shockingly homesick, and long 
ing for Louisiana again. For notwithstanding her snuffy 
appearance, and yellow pocket-handkerchief, she really has 
a genuine taste for beauty; and spoke most feelingly of the 
oleanders, crape myrtles, and cape jessamines, of her native 

"Well, how did you introduce your business?" said 
Clayton, laughing at this description. 

Me ? Why, I flourished out the little French I have 
at command, and she flourished her little English; and I 
think I rather prepossessed the good soul, to begin with. 
Then I made a sentimental story about Lisette and Harry s 
amours; because I know French people always have a 
taste for the sentimental. The old thing was really quite 
affected, wiped her little black eyes, pulled her hooked 


nose as a tribute to my eloquence, called Lisette her 
enfant mignon, and gave me a little lecture on the tender 
passion, which I am going to lay up for future use." 

"Indeed!" said Clayton. "I should be charmed to 
have you repeat it. Can t you give us a synopsis? " 

"I don t know what synopsis means. But if you want 
me to tell you what she said, I sha n t do it. Well, now, 
do you know I am in the best spirits in the world, now 
that I ve got this thing off my mind, and out of that 
desolate house ? Did you ever see such a direful place 1 
What is the reason, when we get down South, here, every 
thing seems to be going to destruction, so ? I noticed it 
all the way down through Virginia. It seems as if every 
thing had stopped growing, and was going backwards. 
Well, now, it s so different at the North! I went up, one 
vacation, into New Hampshire. It s a dreadfully poor, 
barren country; nothing but stony hills and poor soil. 
And yet the people there seem to be so well off! They 
live in such nice, tight, clean-looking white houses! 
Everything around them looks so careful and comfortable; 
and yet their land isn t half so good as ours, down here. 
Why, actually, some of those places seem as if there were 
nothing but rock! And then, they have winter about 
nine months in the year, I do believe ! But these Yankees 
turn everything to account. If a man s field is covered 
with rock, he 11 find some way to sell it, and make money 
out of it; and if they freeze up all winter, they sell the 
ice, and make money out of that. They just live by sell 
ing their disadvantages ! " 

"And we grow poor by wasting our advantages," said 

"Do you know," said Nina, "people think it s a dread 
ful thing to be an Abolitionist? But for my part, I ve a 
great inclination to be one. Perhaps because I have a 
contrary turn, and always have a little spite against what 

188 DEED 

everybody else believes. But if you won t tell anybody, 
I 11 tell you I don t believe in slavery ! " 

"Nor I, either!" said Clayton. 

"You don t! Well, really, I thought I was saying some 
thing original. Now, the other day, Aunt Nesbit s minister 
was at our house, and they sat crooning together, as they 
always do; and among other things, they said, What a 
blessed institution it was to bring these poor Africans over 
here to get them Christianized ! So, by way of saying 
something to give them a start, I told them I thought they 
came nearer to making heathen of us than we to making 
Christians of them." 

"That s very true," said Clayton. "There s no doubt 
that the kind of society which is built up in this way con 
stantly tends to run back towards barbarism. It prevents 
general education of the whites, and keeps the poorer 
classes down to the lowest point, while it enriches a 

"Well, what do we have it for?" said Nina, "Why 
don t we blow it up, right off?" 

"That s a question easier asked than answered. The 
laws against emancipation are very stringent. But I think 
it is every owner s business to contemplate this as a future 
resort, and to educate his servants in reference to it. That 
is what I am trying to do on my plantation." 

"Indeed!" said Nina, looking at him with a good deal 
of interest. "Well, now, that reminds me of what I was 
going to say to you. Generally speaking, my conscience 
don t trouble me much about my servants, because I think 
they are doing about as well with me as they would be 
likely to do anywhere else. But now, there s Harry! 
He is well educated, and I know that he could do for 
himself, anywhere, better than he does here. I have 
always had a kind of sense of this; but I ve thought of it 
more lately, and I m going to try to have him set free at 


the next legislature. And I shall want you to help me 
about all the what-do-you-call- ems." 

"Of course, I shall be quite at your service," said Clay 

"There used to be some people, when I was up at the 
North, who talked as if all of us were no better than a 
pack of robbers and thieves. And, of course, when I 
was there I was strong for our institutions, and would not 
give them an inch of ground. It set me to thinking, 
though; and the result of my thinking is, that we have 
no right to hold those to work for us who clearly can do 
better. Now, there ; s Aunt Nesbit s Milly there s 
Harry and Lisette. Why, it s clear enough, if they can 
support themselves and us too, they certainly can support 
themselves alone. Lisette has paid eight dollars a month 
to her mistress, and supported herself besides. I m sure 
it s we that are the helpless ones! " 

"Well, do you think your Aunt Nesbit is going to fol 
low your example ? " 

"No! catch her at it! Aunt Nesbit is doubly fortified 
in her religion. She is so satisfied with something or 
other about * cursed be Canaan, that she d let Milly earn 
ten dollars a month for her, all the year round, and never 
trouble her head about taking every bit of it. Some folks, 
you know, have a way of calling everything they want to 
do a dispensation of Providence! Now, Aunt Nesbit is 
one of em. She always calls it a dispensation that the 
negroes were brought over here, and a dispensation that 
we are the mistresses. Ah ! Milly will not get free while 
Aunt Nesbit is alive ! And do you know, though it does 
not seem very generous in me, yet I m resigned to it, 
because Milly is such a good soul, and such a comfort to 
me? Do you know she seems a great deal more like a 
mother to me than Aunt Nesbit? Why, I really think, 
if Milly had been educated as we are, she would have 

190 DEED 

made a most splendid woman been a perfect Candace 
queen of Ethiopia. There s a vast deal that is curious and 
interesting in some of these old Africans. I always did 
love to be with them; some of them are so shrewd and 
original! But I wonder, now, what Tom will think of 
my cutting him out so neatly ? T will make him angry, 
I suppose." 

"Oh, perhaps, after all, he had no real intention of 
doing anything of the kind," said Clayton. "He may 
have said it merely for bravado." 

"I should have thought so, if I hadn t known that he 
always had a grudge against Harry." 

At this moment the galloping of a horse was heard in 
the woodland path before them; and very soon Tom Gor 
don appeared in sight, accompanied by another man, on 
horseback, with whom he was in earnest conversation. 
There was something about the face of this man which, at 
the first glance, Nina felt to be very repulsive. He was 
low, thick-set, and yet lean; his features were thin and 
sharp; his hair and eyebrows bushy and black, and a pair 
of glassy, pale blue eyes formed a peculiar contrast to their 
darkness. There was something in the expression of the 
eye which struck Nina as hard and cold. Though the 
man was habited externally as a gentleman, there was still 
about him an underbred appearance, which could be de 
tected at the first glance, as the coarseness of some woods 
will reveal themselves through every varnish. 

"Good-morrow, Nina," said her brother, drawing his 
horse up to meet hers, and signing to his companion to 
arrest his also. "Allow me to present to you my friend, 
Mr. Jekyl. We are going out to visit the Belleville plan 
tation. " 

" I wish you a pleasant ride ! " said Nina. And touch 
ing her horse, she passed them in a moment. Looking back 
almost fiercely, a moment, she turned and said to Clayton: 


"I hate that man!" 

"Who is it? " said Clayton. 

"I don t know!" said Nina. "I never saw him be 
fore. But I hate him! He is a bad man! I d as soon 
have a serpent come near me as that man ! " 

"Well, the poor fellow s face isn t prepossessing," said 
Clayton. "But I should not be prepared for such an 
anathema. " 

"Tom s badness," continued Nina, speaking as if she 
were following out a train of thought, without regarding 
her companion s remark, "is good turned to bad. It s 
wine turned to vinegar. But this man don t even know 
what good is ! " 

"How can you be so positive about a person that 
you ve only seen once ! " said Clayton. 

"Oh," said Nina, resuming her usual gay tones, "don t 
you know that girls and dogs, and other inferior creatures, 
have the gift of seeing what s in people? It doesn t be 
long to highly cultivated folks like you, but to us poor 
creatures, who have to trust to our instincts. So, beware ! " 
And as she spoke, she turned to him with a fascinating 
air of half-saucy defiance. 

"Well," said Clayton, "have you seen, then, what is 
in me 1 " 

"Yes, to be sure!" said Nina with energy; "I knew 
what you were the very first time I saw you. And that s 
the reason why " 

Clayton made an eager gesture, and his eye met hers 
with a sudden flash of earnestness. She stopped, and 
blushed, and then laughed. 
"What, Nina?" 

"Oh, well, I always thought you were a grandfatherly 
body, and that you wouldn t take advantage of us girls, 
as some of the men do. And so I ve treated you with 
confidence, as you know. I had just the same feeling that 

192 DEED 

you could be trusted, as I have that that other fellow can 

"Well," said Clayton, "that deduction suits me so well 
that I should be sorry to undermine your faith. Never 
theless, I must say such a way of judging is n t always 
safe. Instinct may be a greater matter than we think; 
yet it isn t infallible, any more than our senses. We try 
the testimony even of our eyesight by reason. It will 
deceive us, if we don t. Much more we ought to try this 
more subtle kind of sight." 

"Maybe so," said Nina; "yet I don t think I shall 
like that man, after all. But I 11 give him a chance to 
alter my feeling, by treating him civilly if Tom brings him 
back to dinner. That s the best I can do." 


ON entering the house, Nina was met at the door by 
Milly, with a countenance of some anxiety. 

"Miss Nina," she said, "your aunt has heard bad news 
this morning. " 

" Bad news ! " said Nina quickly " what 1 " 

"Well, honey, ye see dere has been a lawyer here," said 
Milly, following Nina as she was going upstairs; "and 
she has been shut up with him all de mornin ; and when 
he come out I found her taking on quite dreadful! And 
she says she has lost all her property." 

"Oh! is that all?" said Nina. "I didn t know what 
dreadful thing might have happened. Why, Milly, this 
isn t so very bad. She hadn t much to lose." 

"Oh, bless you, chile! nobody wants to lose all they 
got, much or little ! " 

"Yes; but," said Nina, "you know she can always live 
here with us; and what little money she wants to fuss 
with, to buy new caps, and paregoric for her cough, and 
all such little matters, we can give her, easily enough." 

"Ah, Miss Nina, your heart is free enough; you d give 
away both ends of the rainbow, if you had em to give. 
But the trouble is, chile, you haven t got em. Why, 
chile, dis yer great place, and so many mouths opened to 
eat and eat, chile, I tell you it takes heaps to keep it 
a-going. And Harry, I tell you, finds it hard work to 
bring it even all the year round, though he never says 
nothing to you about his troubles, wants you always to 

194 DEED 

walk on flowers, with both hands full, and never think 
where they come from. I tell you what, chile, we s houn 
to think for you a little; and I tell you what, I s jist 
a-going to hire out." 

" Why, Milly, how ridiculous ! " 

"It ain t ridiculous, now. Why, just look on it, Miss 
Nina. Here s Miss Loo, dat s one; here s me, dat s 
two; here s Polly, great grown girl, three; dere s 
Tomtit, four; all on us eating your bread, and not bring 
ing in a cent to you, cause all on us together ain t done 
much more than wait on Miss Loo. Why, you s got ser 
vants enough of your own to do every turn that wants 
doing in dis yer house. I know, Miss Nina, young ladies 
don t like to hear about dese things; but the fac is, vict 
uals cost something, and dere must be some on us to bring 
in something. Now, dat ar gentleman what talked with 
your aunt, he said he could find me a right good place up 
dar to the town, and I was jest a-going. Sally, she is 
big enough now to do everything that I have been used 
to doing for Miss Loo, and I am jest a-going; besides, to 
tell you the truth, I think Miss Loo has kind o set her 
heart upon it. You know she is a weakly kind of thing, 
don t know how to do much cept sit in her chair and 
groan. She has always been so used to having me make 
a way for her; and when I told her about dis yer, she 
kind o brightened up." 

"But, Milly, what shall I do? I can t spare you at 
all," said Nina. 

"Law bless you, chile! don t you suppose I s got eyes? 
I tell you, Miss Nina, I looked that gen leman over pretty 
well for you, and my opinion is he 11 do." 

" Oh, come, you hush ! " said Nina. 

"You see, chile, it wouldn t be everybody that our 
people would be willing to have come on to de place, here, 
but there ain t one of em that wouldn t go in for dis yar, 


now I tell you. Dere s Old Hundred, as you calls him, 
told me twas just as good as a meeting to hear him read 
ing de prayers dat ar day at de funeral. Now, you see, 
I s seen gen lemen handsome, and rich, and right pleasant, 
too, dat de people wouldn t want at all; cause why? dey 
has dere frolics and drinks, and de money flies one way for 
dis ting and one way for dat, till by and by it s all gone. 
Den comes de sheriff, and de people is all sold, some one 
way and some another way. Now, Mr. Clayton, he ain t 
none of dem." 

"But, Milly, all this may be very well; but if I could n t 
love him ? " 

" Law sakes, Miss Nina ! You look me in the face and 
tell me dat ar? Why, chile, it s plain enough to see 
through you. "T is so! The people s all pretty sure, by 
this time. Sakes alive, we s used to looking out for the 
weather; and we knows pretty well what s coming. And 
now, Miss Nina, you go right along and give him a good 
word, cause you see, dear lamb, you need a good husband 
to take care of you, dat s what you want, chile. Girls 
like you has a hard life being at the head of a place, espe 
cially your brother being just what he is. Now, if you 
had a husband here, Mas r Tom ud be quiet, cause he 
knows he couldn t do nothing. But just as long as you s 
alone he 11 plague you. But, now, chile, it s time for 
you to be getting ready for dinner. 7 

"Oh, but, do you know, Milly," said Nina, "I ve some 
thing to tell you, which I had liked to have forgotten ! I 
have been out to the Belleville plantation, and bought 
Harry s wife." 

"You has, Miss Nina! Why, de Lord bless you! 
Why, Harry was dreadful worked, dis yer morning, bout 
what Mas r Tom said. Feared like he was most crazy." 

"Well," said Nina, "I ve done it. I ve got the receipt 

196 DEED 

"Why, but, chile, where alive did you get all the money 
to pay right sudden so 1 " 

"Mr. Clayton lent it to me," said Nina. 

"Mr. Clayton! Now, chile, didn t I tell you so? Do 
you suppose, now, you d a let him lend you dat ar money 
if you hadn t liked him? But, come, chile, hurry! 
Dere s Mas r Tom and dat other gen leman coming back, 
and you must be down to dinner." 

The company assembled at the dinner-table was not par 
ticularly enlivening. Tom Gordon, who, in the course of 
his morning ride, had discovered the march which his 
sister had stolen upon him, was more sulky and irritable 
than usual, though too proud to make any allusion to the 
subject. Nina was annoyed by the presence of Mr. Jekyl, 
whom her brother insisted should remain to dinner. Aunt 
Nesbit was uncommonly doleful, of course. Clayton, who 
in mixed society generally took the part of a listener 
rather than a talker, said very little; and had it not been 
for Carson, there s no saying whether any of the company 
could have spoken. Every kind of creature has its uses, 
and there are times when a lively, unthinking chatterbox 
is a perfect godsend. Those unperceiving people, who 
never notice the embarrassment of others, and who walk 
with the greatest facility into the gaps of conversation, 
simply because they have no perception of any difficulty 
there, have their hour; and Nina felt positively grateful 
to Mr. Carson for the continuous and cheerful rattle which 
had so annoyed her the day before. Carson drove a brisk 
talk with the lawyer about the value of property, percent 
age,- etc. ; he sympathized with Aunt Nesbit on her last- 
caught cold, rallied Tom on his preoccupation, compli 
mented Nina on her improved color from her ride, and 
seemed on such excellent terms both with himself and 
everybody else that the thing was really infectious. 

"What do you call your best investments, down here, 
land, eh ? " he said to Mr. Jekyl. 


Mr. Jekyl shook his head. 

"Land deteriorates too fast. Besides, there s all the 
trouble and risk of overseers, and all that. I ve looked this 
thing over pretty well, and I always invest in niggers." 

" Ah ! " said Mr. Carson, " you do ? " 

"Yes, sir, I invest in niggers; that s what I do; and I 
hire them out, sir, hire them out. Why, sir, if a man 
has a knowledge of human nature, knows where to buy 
and when to buy, and watches his opportunity, he gets a 
better percentage on his money that way than any other. 
Now, that was what I was telling Mrs. Nesbit, this morn 
ing. Say, now, that you give one thousand dollars for a 
man, and I always buy the best sort, that s economy, 
well, and he gets put it at the lowest figure ten dol 
lars a month wages, and his living. Well, you see there, 
that gives you a pretty handsome sum for your money. I 
have a good talent of buying. I generally prefer mechan 
ics. I have got now working for me three bricklayers. I 
own two firstrate carpenters, and last month I bought a 
perfect jewel of a blacksmith. He is an uncommonly in 
genious man; a fellow that will make, easy, his fifteen 
dollars a month; and he is the more valuable because he 
has been religiously brought up. Why, some of them, 
now, will cheat you, if they can ; but this fellow has been 
brought up in a district where they have a missionary, and 
a great deal of pains has been taken to form his religious 
principles. Now, this fellow would no more think of 
touching a cent of his earnings than he would of stealing 
right out of my pocket. I tell people about him, some 
times, when I find them opposed to religious instruction. 
I tell them, See there, now you see how godliness is 
profitable to the life that now is. You know the Scrip 
tures, Mrs. Nesbit?" 

"Yes," said Aunt Nesbit, "I always believed in reli 
gious education." 

198 DEED 

"Confound it all!" said Tom, "I don t! I don t see 
the use of making a set of hypocritical sneaks of them! 
I d make niggers bring me my money; but, hang it all, 
if he came snuffling to me, pretending twas his duty, I d 
choke him! They never think so, they don t and they 
can t, and it s all hypocrisy, this religious instruction, as 
you call it ! " 

"No, it isn t," said the undiscouraged Mr. Jekyl, "not 
when you found it on right principles. Take them early 
enough, and work them right, you 11 get it ground into 
them. Now, when they begun religious instruction, there 
was a great prejudice against it in our part of the country. 
You see they were afraid that the niggers would get 
uppish. Ah, but you see the missionaries are pretty care 
ful ; they put it in strong in the catechisms about the rights 
of the master. You see the instruction is just grounded 
on this, that the master stands in God s place to them." 

"D d bosh!" said Tom Gordon. 

Aunt Nesbit looked across the table as if she were going 
to faint. But Mr. Jekyl s composure was not in the 
slightest degree interrupted. 

"I can tell you," he said, "that, in a business, practical 
view, for I am used to investments, that, since the 
publishing of those catechisms, and the missionaries work 
among the niggers, the value of that kind of property has 
risen ten per cent. They are better contented. They 
don t run away, as they used to. Just that simple idea 
that their master stands in God s place to them. Why, 
you see, it cuts its way." 

"I have a radical objection to all that kind of instruc 
tion," said Clayton. 

Aunt Nesbit opened her eyes, as if she could hardly 
believe her hearing. 

"And pray what is your objection?" said Mr. Jekyl, 
with an unmoved countenance. 


"My objection is that it is all a lie," said Clayton in 
such a positive tone that everybody looked at him with a 

Clayton was one of those silent men who are seldom 
roused to talk, but who go with a rush when they are. 
Not seeming to notice the startled looks of the company, 
he went on: "It s a worse lie, because it s told to be 
wilder a simple, ignorant, confiding creature. I never 
could conceive how a decent man could ever look another 
man in the face and say such things. I remember reading, 
in one of the missionary reports, that when this doctrine 
was first propounded in an assembly of negroes somewhere, 
all the most intelligent of them got up and walked deliber 
ately out of the house ; and I honor them for it. " 

"Good for them! " said Tom Gordon. "I can keep my 
niggers down without any such stuff as that ! " 

"I have no doubt," said Clayton, "that these mission 
aries are well-intending, good men, and that they actually 
think the only way to get access to the negroes at all is to 
be very positive in what will please the masters. But I 
think they fall into the same error that the Jesuits did 
when they adulterated Christianity with idolatry in order 
to get admission in Japan. A lie never works well in 
religion, nor in morals." 

"That s what I believe," said Nina warmly. 

"But then, if you can t teach them this, what can you 
teach them ? " said Mr. Jekyl. 

"Confound it all! " said Tom Gordon, "teach them that 
you ve got the power! teach them the weight of your 
fist! That s enough for them. I am bad enough, I 
know; but I can t bear hypocrisy. I show a fellow my 
pistol. I say to him, You see that, sir ! I tell him, You 
do so and so, and you shall have a good time with me. 
But you do that, and I 11 thrash you within an inch of 
your life! That s my short method with niggers, and 

200 DEED 

poor whites, too. When one of these canting fellows 
comes round to my plantation, let him see what he 11 get, 
that s all! 7 

Mr. Jekyl appeared properly shocked at this declaration. 
Aunt Nesbit looked as if it was just what she had ex 
pected, and went on eating her potato with a mournful air, 
as if nothing could surprise her. Nina looked excessively 
annoyed, and turned a sort of appealing glance upon Clay 

"For my part," said Clayton, "I hase my religious in 
struction to my people on the ground that every man and 
every woman must give an account of themselves to God 
alone; and that God is to be obeyed first, and before 

"Why," said Mr. Jekyl, "that would be destructive of 
all discipline. If you are going to allow every fellow to 
judge for himself, among a parcel of ignorant, selfish 
wretches, what the will of God is, one will think it s one 
thing, another will think it s another; and there will be 
an end of all order. It would be absolutely impossible to 
govern a place in that way." 

"They must not be left an ignorant set," said Clayton. 
"They must be taught to read the Scriptures for them 
selves, and be able to see that my authority accords with 
it. If I command anything contrary to it, they ought to 
oppose it ! " 

"Ah! I should like to see a plantation managed in 
that way ! " said Tom Gordon scornfully. 

"Please God, you shall see such an one, if you 11 come 
to mine," said Clayton, "where I should be very happy 
to see you, sir." 

The tone in which this was said was so frank and sin 
cere that Tom was silenced, and could not help a rather 
sullen acknowledgment. 

"I think," said Mr. Jekyl, "that you ll find such a 


course, however well it may work at first, will fail at last. 
You begin to let people think, and they won t stop where 
you want them to; they 11 go too far; it s human nature. 
The more you give, the more you may give. You once 
get your fellows to thinking, and asking all sorts of ques 
tions, and they get discontented at once. I ve seen that 
thing tried in one or two instances, and it didn t turn out 
well. Fellows got restless and discontented. The more 
was given to them, the more dissatisfied they grew, till 
finally they put for the free states." 

"Very well," said Clayton; "if that s to be the result, 
they may all put as soon as they can get ready. If my 
title to them won t bear an intelligent investigation, I 
don t wish to keep them. But I never will consent to 
keep them by making false statements to them in the name 
of religion, and presuming to put myself as an object of 
obedience before my Maker." 

"I think," said Mr. Carson, "Mr. Clayton shows an 
excellent spirit excellent spirit ! On my word, I think 
so. I wish some of our northern agitators, who make 
such a fuss on the subject, could hear him. I m always 
disgusted with these Abolitionists producing such an un 
pleasantness between the North and the South, interrupting 
trade, and friendship, and all that sort of thing." 

"He shows an excellent spirit," said Mr. Jekyl; "but 
I must think he is mistaken if he thinks that he can bring 
up people in that way, under our institutions, and not do 
them more harm than good. It s a notorious fact that the 
worst insurrections have arisen from the reading of the 
Bible by these ignorant fellows. That was the case with 
Nat Turner, in Virginia. That was the case with Den 
mark Yesey, and his crew, in South Carolina. I tell you, 
sir, it will never do, this turning out a set of ignorant 
people to pasture in the Bible! That blessed book is a 
savor of life unto life when it s used right; but it s a 

202 DEED 

savor of death unto death when ignorant people take hold 
of it. The proper way is this: administer such portions 
only as these creatures are capable of understanding. This 
admirable system of religious instruction keeps the matter 
in our own hands, by allowing us to select for them such 
portions of the word as are best fitted to keep them quiet, 
dutiful, and obedient; and I venture to predict that who 
ever undertakes to manage a plantation on any other sys 
tem will soon find it getting out of his hands." 

"So you are afraid to trust the Lord s word without 
holding the bridle!" said Tom, with a sneer. "That s 
pretty well for you ! " 

"/am not!" said Clayton. "I m willing to resign 
any rights to any one that I am not able to defend in 
God s word any that I cannot make apparent to any 
man s cultivated reason. I scorn the idea that I must 
dwarf a man s mind, and keep him ignorant and childish, 
in order to make him believe any lie I choose to tell him 
about my rights over him! I intend to have an educated, 
intelligent people, who shall submit to me because they 
think it clearly for their best interests to do so; because 
they shall feel that what I command is right in the sight 
of God." 

"It s my opinion," said Tom, "that both these ways 
of managing are humbugs. One way makes hypocrites, 
and the other makes rebels. The best way of educating 
is, to show folks that they can t help themselves. All the 
fussing and arguing in the world is n t worth one dose of 
certainty on that point. Just let them know that there 
are no two ways about it, and you 11 have all still 
enough. " 

From this point the conversation was pursued with con 
siderable warmth, till Nina and Aunt Nesbit rose and 
retired to the drawing-room. Perhaps it did not materially 
discourage Clayton, in the position he had taken, that 


Nina, with the frankness usual to her, expressed the most 
eager and undisguised admiration of all that he said. 

"Didn t he talk beautifully ? Wasn t it noble?" she 
said to Aunt Nesbit, as she came in the drawing-room. 
"And that hateful Jekyl! isn t he mean? " 

"Child!" said Aunt Nesbit, "I m surprised to hear 
you speak so! Mr. Jekyl is a very respectable lawyer, an 
elder in the church, and a very pious man. He has given 
me some most excellent advice about my affairs; and he is 
going to take Milly with him, and find her a good place. 
He s been making some investigations, Nina, and he s 
going to talk to you about them, after dinner. He s dis 
covered that there s an estate in Mississippi worth a hun 
dred thousand dollars, that ought properly to come to 

"I don t believe a word of it!" said Nina. "Don t 
like the man! think he is hateful! don t want to hear 
anything he has to say ! don t believe in him ! " 

"Nina, how often have I warned you against such sud 
den prejudices against such a good man, too!" 

"You won t make me believe he is good, not if he were 
elder in twenty churches ! " 

"Well, but, child, at any rate you must listen to what 
he has got to say. Your brother will be very angry if you 
don t, and it s really very important. At any rate, you 
ought not to offend Tom, when you can help it." 

"That s true enough," said Nina; "and I 11 hear, and 
try and behave as well as I can. I hope the man will go, 
some time or other! I don t know why, but his talk 
makes me feel worse than Tom s swearing! That s cer 

Aunt Nesbit looked at Nina as if she considered her in 
a most hopeless condition. 


AFTER the return of the gentlemen to the drawing- 
room, Nina, at the request of Tom, followed him and Mr. 
Jekyl into the library. 

"Mr. Jekyl is going to make some statements to us, 
Nina, about our property in Mississippi, which, if they turn 
out as he expects, will set us up in the world," said Tom. 

Nina threw herself carelessly into the leather armchair 
by the window, and looked out of it. 

"You see," said Mr. Jekyl, also seating himself, and 
pulling out the stiff points of his collar, "having done law 
business for your father, and known, in that way, a good 
deal about the family property, I have naturally always 
felt a good deal of interest in it; and you remember your 
father s sister, Mrs. Stewart, inherited, on the death of her 
husband, a fine estate in Mississippi." 

"I remember," said Tom, "well, go on." 

"Well, she died, and left it all to her son. Well, he, 
it seems like some other young men, lived in a very repre 
hensible union with a handsome quadroon girl, who was 
his mother s maid; and she, being an artful creature, I 
suppose, as a great many of them are, got such an ascend 
ency over him that he took her up to Ohio, and married 
her, and lived there with her some years, and had two 
children by her. Well, you see, he had a deed of emanci 
pation recorded for her in Mississippi, and just taking her 
into Ohio, set her free by the laws of that state. Well, 
you see, he thought he d fixed it so that the thing could n t 


be undone, and she thought so too; and I understand 
she s a pretty shrewd woman has a considerable share 
of character, or else she would n t have done just what she 
has; for, you see, he died about six months ago, and left 
the plantation and all the property to her and her children, 
and she has been so secure that she has actually gone and 
taken possession. You see, she is so near white, you 
must know that there isn t one in twenty would think 
what she was, and the people round there, actually, 
some of them, had forgotten all about it, and didn t know 
but what she was a white woman from Ohio; and so, you 
see, the thing never would have been looked into at all, if 
I had n t happened to have been down there. But, you 
see, she turned off an overseer that had managed the place, 
because the people complained of him; and I happened to 
fall in with the man, and he began telling me his story, 
and after a little inquiry, I found who these people were. 
Well, sir, I just went to one of the first lawyers, for I 
suspected there was false play; and we looked over the 
emancipation laws together, and we found out that, as the 
law stood, the deed of emancipation was no more than so 
much waste paper. And so, you see, she and her children 
are just as much slaves as any on her plantation; and the 
whole property, which is worth a hundred thousand dol 
lars, belongs to your family. I rode out with him, and 
looked over the place, and got introduced to her and her 
children, and looked them over. Considered as property, 
I should call them a valuable lot. She is past forty, but 
she don t look older than twenty-seven or twenty-eight, I 
should say. She is a very good-looking woman, and then, 
I J m told, a very capable woman. Well, her price in the 
market might range between one thousand and fifteen hun 
dred dollars. Smalley said he had seen no better article 
sold for two thousand dollars; but then, he said, they 
had to give a false certificate as to the age, and that I 

206 DEED 

couldn t hear of, for I never countenance anything like 
untruth. Then, the woman s children: she has got two 
fine-looking children as I have ever seen almost white. 
The boy is about ten years old; the little girl, about four. 
You may be sure I was pretty careful not to let on, be 
cause I consider the woman and children are an important 
part of the property, and, of course, nothing had better be 
said about it, lest she should be off before we are ready to 
come down on them. Now, you see, you Gordons are the 
proper owners of this whole property; there isn t the 
slightest doubt in my mind that you ought to put in your 
claim immediately. The act of emancipation was contrary 
to law, and though the man meant well, yet it amounted 
to a robbery of the heirs. I declare, it rather raised my 
indignation to see that creature so easy in the possession 
of property which of right belongs to you. Now, if I 
have only the consent of the heirs, I can go on and com 
mence operations immediately." 

Nina had been sitting regarding Mr. Jekyl with a fixed 
and determined expression of countenance. When he had 
finished, she said to him, 

"Mr. Jekyl, I understand you are an elder in the 
church ; is that true ? " 

"Yes, Miss Gordon, I have that privilege," said Mr. 
Jekyl, his sharp, business tone subsiding into a sigh. 

"Because," said Nina, "I am a wild young girl, and 
don t profess to know much about religion; but I want 
you to tell me, as a Christian, if you think it would be 
right to take this woman and children, and her property." 

"Why, certainly, my dear Miss Gordon; isn t it right 
that every one should have his own property? I view 
things simply with the eye of the law; and in the eye of 
the law that woman and her children are as much your 
property as the shoe on your foot; there is no manner of 
doubt of it." 


"I should think," said Nina, "that you might see with 
the eye of the gospel, sometimes! Do you think, Mr. 
Jekyl, that doing this is doing as I should wish to be 
done by, if I were in the place of this woman ? " 

"My dear Miss Gordon, young ladies of fine feeling, at 
your time of life, are often confused on this subject by a 
wrong application of the Scripture language. Suppose I 
were a robber, and had possession of your property ? Of 
course, I shouldn t wish to be made to give it up. But 
would it follow that the golden rule obliged the lawful 
possessor not to take it from me? This woman is your 
property; this estate is your property, and she is holding 
it as unlawfully as a robber. Of course, she won t want 
to give it up; but right is right, notwithstanding." 

Like many other young persons, Nina could feel her 
way out of sophistry much sooner than she could think it 
out; and she answered to all this reasoning, 

"After all, I can t think it would be right." 

"Oh, confound the humbug!" said Tom; "who cares 
whether it is right or not? The fact is, Nin, to speak 
plain sense to you, you and I both are deuced hard up for 
money, and want all \ve can get; and what s the use of 
being more religious than the very saints themselves at our 
time of day ? Mr. Jekyl is a pious man one of the tall 
est kind ! He thinks this is all right, and why need we 
set ourselves all up? He has talked with Uncle John, 
and he goes in for it. As for my part, I am free to own 
I don t care whether it s right or not! I ll do it if I 
can. Might makes right, that s my doctrine ! " 

"Why," said Mr. Jekyl, "I have examined the subject, 
and I haven t the slightest doubt that slavery is a di 
vinely appointed institution, and that the rights of the 
masters are sanctioned by God; so however much I may 
naturally feel for this woman, whose position is, I must 
say, an unfortunate one, still it is my duty to see that the 
law is properly administered in the case." 

208 DEED 

"All I have to say, Mr. Jekyl," said Nina, "is just 
this: that I won t have anything to do with this matter; 
for, if I can t prove it s wrong, I shall always feel it is." 

"Nina, how ridiculous!" said Tom. 

"I have said my say," said Nina, as she rose and left 
the room. 

"Very natural, fine feelings, but uninstructed, " said 
Mr. Jekyl. 

"Certainly, we pious folks know a trick worth two of 
that, don t we?" said Tom. "I say, Jekyl, this sister of 
mine is a pretty rapid little case, I can tell you, as you 
saw by the way she circumvented us this morning. She 
is quite capable of upsetting the whole dish, unless we go 
about it immediately. You see, her pet nigger, this Harry, 
is this woman s brother; and if she gave him the word, 
he d write at once, and put her on the alarm. You and 
I had better start off to-morrow, before this Harry comes 
back. I believe he is to be gone a few days. It s no 
matter whether she consents to the suit or not. She don t 
need to know anything about it." 

"Well," said Jekyl, "I advise you to go right on, and 
have the woman and children secured. It s a perfectly 
fair, legal proceeding. There has been an evident evasion 
of the law of the state, by means of which your family are 
defrauded of an immense sum. At all events, it will be 
tried in an open court of justice, and she will be allowed 
to appear by her counsel. It s a perfectly plain, above- 
board proceeding ; and as the young lady has shown such 
fine feelings, there s the best reason to suppose that the 
fate of this woman would be as good in her hands as in 
her own." 

Mr. Jekyl was not now talking to convince Tom Gor 
don, but himself; for spite of himself, Nina s questions 
had awakened in his mind a sufficient degree of misgiving 
to make it necessary for him to pass in review the argu- 


merits by which he generally satisfied himself. Mr. Jekyl 
was a theologian, and a man of principle. His metaphy 
sical talent, indeed, made him a point of reference among 
his Christian brethren; and he spent much of his leisure 
time in reading theological treatises. His favorite subject 
of all was the nature of true virtue; and this, he had fixed 
in his mind, consisted in a love of the greatest good. Ac 
cording to his theology, right consisted in creating the 
greatest amount of happiness; and every creature had 
rights to be happy in proportion to his capacity of enjoy 
ment or being. He whose capacity was ten pounds had 
a right to place his own happiness before that of him who 
had five, because, in that way, five pounds more of happi 
ness would exist in the general whole. He considered the 
right of the Creator to consist in the fact that he had a 
greater amount of capacity than all creatures put together, 
and, therefore, was bound to promote his own happiness 
before all of them put together. He believed that the 
Creator made himself his first object in all that He did; 
and, descending from Him, all creatures were to. follow the 
same rule, in proportion to their amount of being; the 
greater capacity of happiness always taking precedence of 
the less. Thus, Mr. Jekyl considered that the Creator 
brought into the world yearly myriads of human beings 
with no other intention than to make them everlastingly 
miserable; and that this was right, because his capacity of 
enjoyment being greater than all theirs put together, He 
had a right to gratify himself in this way. 

Mr. Jekyl s belief in slavery was founded on his theo 
logy. He assumed that the white race had the largest 
amount of being; therefore, it had a right to take prece 
dence of the black. On this point he held long and severe 
arguments with his partner, Mr. Israel McFogg, who, 
belonging to a different school of theology, referred the 
whole matter to no natural fitness, but to a divine decree, 

VOL. I. 

210 DRED 

by which it pleased the Creator in the time of Noah to 
pronounce a curse upon Canaan. The fact that the Afri 
can race did not descend from Canaan was, it is true, a 
slight difficulty in the chain of the argument; but theo 
logians are daily in the habit of surmounting much greater 
ones. Either way, whether by metaphysical fitness or 
divine decree, the two partners attained the same practical 

Mr. Jekyl, though a coarse-grained man, had started 
from the hands of nature no more hard hearted or unfeel 
ing than many others; but his mind, having for years been 
immersed in the waters of law and theology, had slowly 
petrified into such a steady consideration of the greatest 
general good, that he was wholly inaccessible to any emo 
tion of particular humanity. The trembling, eager tone 
of pity, in which Nina had spoken of the woman and chil 
dren who were about to be made victims of a legal process, 
had excited but a moment s pause. What considerations 
of temporal loss and misery can shake the constancy of the 
theologian who has accustomed himself to contemplate and 
discuss, as a cool intellectual exercise, the eternal misery 
of generations 1 who worships a God that creates myriads 
only to glorify himself in their eternal torments? 


spent the evening in the drawing-room; and her 
brother, in the animation of a new pursuit, forgetful of 
the difference of the morning, exerted himself to be agree 
able, and treated her with more consideration and kindness 
than he had done any time since his arrival. He even 
made some off-hand advances towards Clayton, which the 
latter received with good humor, and which went further 
than she supposed to raise the spirits of Nina; and so, on 
the whole, she passed a more than usually agreeable even 
ing. On retiring to her room, she found Milly, who had 
been for some time patiently waiting for her, having dis 
patched her mistress to bed some time since. 

"Well, Miss Nina, I am going on my travels in de 
morning. Thought I must have a little time to see you, 
lamb, fore I goes." 

"I can t bear to have you go, Milly! I don t like that 
man you are going with." 

"I spects he s a nice man," said Milly. "Of course 
he 11 look me out a nice place, because he has always took 
good care of Miss Loo s affairs. So you never trouble 
yourself bout me! I tell you, chile, I never gets where 
I can t find de Lord; and when I finds Him, I gets along. 
De Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 

"But you have never been used to living except in our 
family," said Nina, "and, somehow, I feel afraid. If 
they don t treat you well, come back, Milly; will you?" 

"Laws, chile, I isn t much feard but what I ll get 

212 DEED 

along well enough. When people keep about dere busi 
ness, doing de best dey ken, folks doesn t often trouble 
dem. I never yet seed de folks I couldn t suit," she 
added, with a glow of honest pride. "No, chile, it isn t 
for myself I s fearing; it s just for you, chile. Chile, 
you don t know what it is to live in dis yer world, and 
I wants you to get de Best Friend to go with you. Why, 
dear lamb, you wants somebody to go to and open your 
heart; somebody dat 11 love you, and always stand by 
you; somebody dat 11 always lead you right, you know. 
You has more cares than such a young thing ought for to 
have; great many looking to you, and pending on you. 
Now, if your ma was alive, it would be different; but 
just now, I see how tis; dere 11 be a hundred things 
you 11 be thinking and feeling, and nobody to say em to. 
And now, chile, you must learn to go to de Lord. Why, 
chile, He loves you! Chile, He loves you just as you 
be ; if you only saw how much, it would melt your heart 
right down. I told you I was going some time fur to tell 
you my sperience how I first found Jesus. Oh Lord, 
Lord ! but it is a long story. " 

Nina, whose quick sympathies were touched by the 
earnestness of her old friend, and still more aroused by the 
allusion to her mother, answered, 

"Oh yes, come, tell me about it!" And drawing a 
low ottoman, she sat down, and laid her head on the lap 
of her humble friend. 

"Well, well, you see, chile," said Milly, her large dark 
eyes fixing themselves on vacancy, and speaking in a slow 
and dreamy voice, "a body s life, in dis yer world, is a 
mighty strange thing ! You see, chile, my mother well, 
dey brought her from Africa; my father, too. Heaps and 
heaps my mother has told me about dat ar. Dat ar was 
a mighty fine country, where dey had gold in the rivers, 
and such great, big, tall trees, with de strangest beautiful 


flowers on them you ever did see ! Laws, laws ! well, dey 
brought my mother and my father into Charleston, and 
dere Mr. Campbell, dat was your ma s father, honey, 
he bought dem right out of de ship; but dey had five chil 
dren, and dey was all sold, and dey never knowed where 
dey went to. Father and mother couldn t speak a word 
of English when dey come ashore; and she told me often 
how she couldn t speak a word to nobody, to tell em how 
it hurt her. 

"Laws, when I was a chile, I member how often, 
when de day s work was done, she used to come out and 
sit and look up at de stars, and groan, groan, and groan ! 
I was a little thing, playing round; and I used to come 
up to her, dancing, and saying, 

" Mammy, what makes you groan so ? what s de matter 
of you ? 

" Matter enough, chile ! she used to say. I s a-think- 
ing of my poor children. I likes to look at de stars, be 
cause dey sees de same stars dat I do. Pears like we was 
in one room; but I don t know where dey is! Dey don t 
know where I be ! 

"Den she d say to me, 

" Now, chile, you may be sold away from your mammy. 
Der s no knowing what may happen to you, chile; but 
if you gets into any trouble, as I does, you mind, chile, 
you ask God to help you. 

" Who is God, mammy, says I, anyhow ? 

" Why, chile, says she, * He made dese yer stars. 

"And den I wanted mammy to tell me more about it; 
only she says, 

" He can do anything he likes; and if ye are in any 
kind of trouble, He can help you. 

"Well, to be sure, I didn t mind much about it all 
dancing round, because pretty well don t need much help. 
But she said dat ar to me so many times, I could n t help 

214 DEED 

member it. Chile, troubles will come; and when dey 
does come, you ask God, and He will help you. 

"Well, sure enough, I wasn t sold from her, but she 
was took from me, because Mr. Campbell s brother went 
off to live in Orleans, and parted de hands. My father 
and mother was took to Orleans, and I was took to Vir- 
ginny. Well, you see, I growed up along with de young 
ladies, your ma, Miss Harrit, Miss Loo, and de rest on 
em, and I had heaps of fun. Dey all like Milly. Dey 
couldn t nobody run, nor jump, nor ride a horse, nor row 
a boat, like Milly; and so it was Milly here, and Milly 
dere, and whatever de young ladies wanted, it was Milly 
made de way for it. 

"Well, dere was a great difference among dem young 
ladies. Dere was Miss Loo she was de prettiest, and 
she had a great many beaux; but den, dere was your ma 
everybody loved her ; and den dere was Miss Harrit 
she had right smart of life in her, and was always for 
doing something always right busy tending to some 
thing or other, and she liked me because I d always go in 
with her. Well, well! dem dar was pleasant times 
enough; but when I got to be about fourteen or fifteen, 
I began to feel kind o bad sort of strange and heavy. 
I really didn t know why, but peared like s when I got 
older, I felt I was in bondage. 

" Member one day your ma came in, and seed me look 
ing out of window, and she says to me, 

" Milly, what makes you so dull lately ? 

" Oh, says I, I, somehow, I don t have good times. 

" Why ? says she; why not? Don t everybody make 
much of you, and don t you have everything that you 
want 1 

" Oh, well, says I, missis, I s a poor slave-girl, for 

"Chile, your ma was a weety thing, like you. I mem- 


ber just how she looked dat minute. I felt sorry, cause 
I thought I d hurt her feelings. But says she, 

" Milly, I don t wonder you feel so. I know I should 
feel so myself, if I was in your place. 

"Afterwards, she told Miss Loo and Miss Harrit; but 
dey laughed, and said dey guessed der wasn t many girls 
who were as well off as Milly. Well, den, Miss Harrit, 
she was married de first. She married Mr. Charles Blair; 
and when she was married, nothing was to do but she 
must have me to go with her. I liked Miss Harrit ; but 
den, honey, I d liked it much better if it had been your 
ma. I d always counted that I wanted to belong to your 
ma, and I think your ma wanted me; but den, she was 
still, and Miss Harrit she was one of de sort dat never lost 
nothing by not asking for it. She was one of de sort dat 
always got things by hook or by crook. She always had 
more clothes, and more money, and more everything, dan 
de rest of them, cause she was always wide awake, and 
looking out for herself. 

"Well, Mr. Blair s place was away off in another part 
of Virginny, and I went dere with her. Well, she wa n t 
very happy, noways, she wa n t; because Mr. Blair, he 
was a high fellow. Laws, Miss Nina, when I tells you 
dis yere one you ve got here is a good one, and I vise 
you to take him, it s because I knows what comes o girls 
marrying high fellows. Don t care how good looking dey 
is, nor what dere manners is, it s just de ruin of girls 
that has them. Law, when he was a-courting Miss Harrit, 
it was all nobody but her. She was going to be his angel, 
and he was going to give up all sorts of bad ways, and 
live such a good life ! Ah ! she married him ; it all went 
to smoke! Fore de month was well over he got a-going 
in his old ways; and den it was go, go, all de time, carous 
ing and drinking, parties at home, parties abroad, 
money flying like de water. 

216 DEED 

"Well, dis made a great change in Miss Harrit. She 
didn t laugh no more; she got sharp and cross, and she 
wa n t good to me like what she used to be. She took to 
be jealous of me and her husband. She might have saved 
herself de trouble. I shouldn t have touched him with a 
pair of tongs. But he was always running after every 
thing that came in his way; so no wonder. But tween 
them both I led a bad life of it. 

"Well, things dragged kind along in this way. She 
had three children, and at last he was killed, one day, 
falling off his horse when he was too drunk to hold the 
bridle. Good riddance, too, I thought. And den, after 
he s dead, Miss Harrit, she seemed to grow more quiet 
like, and setting herself picking up what pieces and crumbs 
was left for her and de children. And I member she had 
one of her uncles dere a good many days helping her in 
counting up de debts. Well, dey was talking one day in 
missis room, and dere was a little light closet on one side, 
where I got set down to do some fine stitching; but dey 
was too busy in their counts to think anything bout me. 
It seemed dat de place and de people was all to be sold off 
to pay de debts, all cept a few of us, who were to go 
off with missis, and begin again on a small place, and I 
heard him telling her about it. 

" While your children are small, he says, you can 
live small, and keep things close, and raise enough on the 
place for ye all; and den you can be making the most of 
your property. Niggers is rising in de market. Since 
Missouri came in, they s worth double; and so you can 
just sell de increase of em for a good sum. Now, there s 
that black girl Milly, of yourn. You may be sure, 
now, I pricked up my ears, Miss Nina. You don t 
often see a girl of finer breed than she is, says he, just as 
if I d been a cow, you know. Have you got her a hus 


" No, said Miss Harrit; and then says she, I believe 
Milly is something of a coquette among the young men. 
She s never settled on anybody yet, says she. 

" Well, says he, that must be attended to, cause 
that girl s children will be an estate of themselves. Why, 
I ve known women to have twenty ! and her children 
wouldn t any of em be worth less than eight hundred 
dollars. There s a fortune at once. If dey s like her, 
dey 11 be as good as cash in the market, any day. You 
can send out and sell one, if you happen to be in any 
straits, just as soon as you can draw a note on the bank. 

"Oh, laws, Miss Nina, I tell you dis yer fell on me like 
so much lead. Cause, you see, I d been keeping com 
pany with a very nice young man, and I was going to ask 
Miss Harrit about it dat very day ; but, dere I laid 
down my work dat minute, and thinks, says I, True as 
de Lord s in heaven I won t never be married in dis 
world! And I cried bout it, off and on, all day, and 
at night I told Paul bout it. He was de one, you know. 
But Paul, he tried to make it all smooth. He guessed it 
wouldn t happen; he guessed missis would think better 
on t. At any rate, we loved each other, and why 
should n t we take as much comfort as we could? Well, 
I went to Miss Harrit, and told her just what I thought 
bout it. Allers had spoke my mind to Miss Harrit bout 
everything, and I wa n t going to stop den. And she 
laughed at me, and told me not to cry fore I s hurt. 
Well, things went on so two or three weeks, and finally 
Paul he persuaded me. And so we was married. When 
our first child was born, Paul was so pleased, he thought 
strange that I wa n t. 

" Paul, said I, dis yer child ain t ourn; it maybe 
took from us, and sold, any day. 

"Well, well, says he, Milly, it may be God s child, 
anyway, even if it ain t ourn. 

218 DEED 

" Cause, you see, Miss Nina, Paul, he was a Christian. 
Ah, well, honey, I can t tell you; after dat I had a great 
many chiPen, girls and boys, growing up round me. 
Well, I s had fourteen chiPen, dear, and dey s all been 
sold from me, every single one of em. Lord, it s a 
heavy cross! heavy, heavy! None knows but dem dat 
bears it ! " 

"What a shame!" said Nina. "How could Aunt 
Harriet be such a wicked woman ! an aunt of mine do 

"Chile, chile," said Milly, "we doesn t none of us 
know what s in us. When Miss Harrit and I was gals 
together, hunting hens eggs and rowing de boat in de 
river, well, I wouldn t have thought it would have been 
so, and she wouldn t have thought so, neither. But den, 
what little s bad in girls when dey s young and hand 
some, and all de world smiling on em Oh, honey, it 
gets drefful strong when dey gets grown women, and de 
wrinkles comes in der faces! Always, when she was a 
girl, whether it was eggs, or berries, or chincapins, or 
what, it was Miss Harrit s nature to get and to keep ; 
and when she got old, dat all turned to money." 

"Oh! but," said Nina, "it does seem impossible that a 
woman a lady born, too, and my aunt could do such 
a thing!" 

"Ah, ah, honey! ladies born have some bad stuff in 
dem, sometimes, like de rest of us. But den, honey, it 
was de most natural thing in de world, come to look on t; 
for now, see here, honey, dere was your aunt she was 
poor, and she was pestered for money. Dere was Mas r 
George s bills and Peter s bills to pay, and Miss Susy s; 
and every one of em must have everything, and dey was 
all calling for money, money; and dere has been times she 
did n t know which way to turn. Now, you see, when a 
woman is pestered to pay two hundred here and tree hun- 


died dere, and when she has got more niggers on her place 
dan she can keep, and den a man calls in and lays down 
eight hundred dollars in gold and bills before her, and 
says, I want dat ar Lucy or George of yourn, why, don t 
you see 1 Dese yer soul-drivers is always round, tempting 
folks dey know is poor; and dey always have der money 
as handy as de devil has his. But den, I ought n t fur 
to be hard upon dem poor soul- drivers, neither, cause dey 
ain t taught no better. It s dese yer Christians, dat pro 
fess Christ, dat makes great talks bout religion, dat has 
der Bibles, and turns der backs upon swearing soul-drivers, 
and tinks dey ain t fit to speak to it s dem, honey, 
dat s de root of de whole business. Now, dere was dat 
uncle of hern, mighty great Christian he was, with his 
prayer-meetings, and all dat ! he was always a-putting 
her up to it. Oh, dere s been times dere was times 
long first, Miss Nina, when my first chil en was sold 
dat, I tell you, I poured out my soul to Miss Harrit, and 
I ve seen dat ar woman cry so dat I was sorry for her. 
And she said to me, Milly, I 11 never do it again. But, 
Lord! I didn t trust her, not a word on t, cause I 
knowed she would. I knowed dere was dat in her heart 
dat de devil wouldn t let go of. I knowed he d no kind 
of objection to her musing herself with meetin s, and 
prayers, and all dat; but he d no notion to let go his grip 
on her heart. 

"But, Lord! she wasn t quite a bad woman, poor 
Miss Harrit wasn t, and she wouldn t have done so 
bad, if it hadn t been for him. But he d come and have 
prayers, and exhort, and den come prowling round my 
place like a wolf, looking at my chil en. 

" And, Milly, he d say, how do you do now ? Lucy 
is getting to be a right smart girl, Milly. How old is 
she? Cere s a lady in Washington has advertised for a 
maid, a nice woman, a pious lady. I suppose you 

220 DEED 

wouldn t object, Milly? Your poor mistress is in great 
trouble for money. 

"I never said nothing to that man. Only once, when 
he asked me what I thought my Lucy would be worth, 
when she was fifteen years old, says I to him : 

" * Sir, she is worth to me just what your daughter is 
worth to you. 

"Den I went in and shut de door. I didn t stay to see 
how he took it. Den he d go up to de house, and talk to 
Miss Harrit. Twas her duty, he d tell her, to take 
proper care of her goods. And dat ar meant selling my 
chil en. I member, when Miss Susy came home from 
boarding-school, she was a pretty girl: but I didn t look 
on her very kind, I tell you, cause three of my chil en 
had been sold to keep her at school. My Lucy, ah, 
honey! she went for a lady s maid. I knowed what dat 
ar meant, well enough. De lady had a son grown, and he 
took Lucy with him to Orleans, and dere was an end of 
dat. Dere don t no letters go tween us. Once gone, we 
can t write, and it is good as being dead. Ah, no, chile, 
not so good! Paul used to teach Lucy little hymns, 
nights, fore she went to sleep. And if she d a died right 
off after one of dem, it would have been better for her. 
Oh, honey, long dem times I used to rave and toss like 
a bull in a net I did so ! 

"Well, honey, I wasn t what I was. I got cross and 
ugly. Miss Harrit, she grew a great Christian, and joined 
de church, and used to have heaps of ministers and elders 
at her house; and some on em used to try and talk to me. 
I told em I d seen enough of der old religion, and I 
didn t want to hear no more. But Paul, he was a Chris 
tian; and when he talked to me, I was quiet, like, though 
I couldn t be like what he was. Well, last, my missis 
promised me one. She d give me my youngest child, sure 
and certain. His name was Alfred. Well, dat boy I 


loved dat child better dan any of de rest of em. He was 
all I d got left to love; for when he was a year old, 
Paul s master moved away down to Louisiana, and took 
him off, and I never heard no more of him. So it peared 
as if dis yer child was all I had left. Well, he vvas a 
bright boy. Oh, he was most uncommon! He was so 
handy to anything, and saved me so many steps! Oh, 
honey, he had such ways with him dat boy ! would 
always make me laugh. He took after larnin mighty, 
and he larned himself to read; and he d read de Bible to 
me, sometimes. I just brought him up and teached him 
de best way I could. All dat made me fraid for him was, 
dat he was so spirity. I s fraid t would get him into 

"He wa n t no more spirity dan white folks would like 
der chil en fur to be. When white chil en holds up der 
heads, and answers back, den de parents laugh, and say, 
1 He s got it in him! He s a bright one! But if one 
of ourn does so, it s a drefful thing. I was allers talking 
to Alfred bout it, and telled him to keep humble. It 
peared like there was so much in him, you couldn t keep 
it down. Laws, Miss Nina, folks may say what dey like 
about de black folks, dey 11 never beat it out of my head; 
dere s some on em can be as smart as any white folks, 
if dey could have de same chance. How many white boys 
did you ever see would take de trouble for to teach their 
selves to read? And dat s what my Alfred did. Laws, 
I had a mighty heap of comfort in him, cause I was 
thinkin to get my missis to let me hire my time; den I 
was going to work over-hours, and get money, and buy 
him; because, you see, chile, I knowed he was too spirity 
for a slave. You see he could n t learn to stoop ; he 
wouldn t let nobody impose on him; and he always had 
a word back again to give anybody as good as dey sent. 
Yet for all dat, he was a dear, good boy to me; and when 

222 DEED 

I used to talk to him, and tell him dese things was danger 
ous, he d always promise fur to be kerful. Well, things 
went on pretty well while he was little, and I kept him 
with me till he got to be about twelve or thirteen years 
old. He used to wipe de dishes, and scour de knives, 
and black de shoes, and such like work. But by and by, 
dey said it was time dat he should go to de reg lar work; 
and dat ar was de time I felt feard. Missis had an over 
seer, and he was real aggravating, and I felt feard dere d 
be trouble; and sure enough dere was, too. Dere was 
always somethin brewing tween him and Alfred; and he 
was always running to missis with tales, and I was talking 
to Alfred. But peared like he aggravated de boy so, dat 
he couldn t do right. Well, one day, when I had been 
up to town for an errand, I come home at night, and I 
wondered Alfred didn t come home to his supper. I 
thought something was wrong; and I went to de house, 
and dere sat Miss Harrit by a table covered with rolls of 
money, and dere she was a- counting it. 

" Miss Harrit, says I, I can t find Alfred. Ain t 
you seen him 1 says I. 

"At first she didn t answer, but went on counting 
fifty-one, fifty-two, fifty-three. Finally I spoke again. 

" * I hope there ain t nothing happened to Alfred, Miss 

"She looked up, and says she to me, 

" Milly, says she, de fact is, Alfred has got too much 
for me to manage, and I had a great deal of money offered 
for him ; and I sold him. 

"I felt something strong coming up in my throat, and I 
just went up and took hold of her shoulders, and said I, 

" Miss Harrit, you took de money for thirteen of my 
chil en, and you promised me, sure enough, I should have 
dis yer one. You call dat being a Christian 1 says I. 

" Why, says she, Milly, he ain t a great way off; 


you can see him about as much. It s only over to Mr. 
Jones s plantation. You can go and see him, and he can 
come and see you. And you know you didn t like the 
man who had the care of him here, and thought he was 
always getting him into trouble. 

" Miss Harrit, says I, you may cheat yourself saying 
dem things; but you don t cheat me, nor de Lord neither. 
You folks have de say all on your side, with your ministers 
preaching us down out of de Bible; you won t teach us to 
read. But I m going straight to de Lord with dis yer 
case. I tell you, if de Lord is to be found, I 11 find him; 
and I ll ask him to look on t, de way you ve been 
treating me, selling my chil en, all de way long, to 
pay for your chil en, and now breaking your word to me, 
and taking dis yer boy, de last drop of blood in my heart! 
I 11 pray de Lord to curse every cent of dat ar money to 
you and your chil en! 

"Dat ar was de way I spoke to her, child. I was poor, 
ignorant cretur, and did n t know God, and my heart was 
like a red-hot coal. I turned and walked right straight 
out from her. I didn t speak no more to her, and she 
didn t speak no more to me. And when I went to bed 
at night, dar, sure nough, was Alfred s bed in de corner, 
and his Sunday coat hanging up over it, and his Sunday 
shoes I had bought for him with my own money; cause 
he was a handsome boy, and I wanted him always to look 
nice. Well, so, come Sunday morning, I took his coat 
and his shoes, and made a bundle of em, and I took my 
stick, and says I, I 11 just go over to Jones s place and 
see what has come of Alfred. All de time, I hadn t 
said a word to missis, nor she to me. Well, I got about 
halfway over to de place, and dere I stopped under a big 
hickory-tree, to rest me a bit, and I looked along and seed 
some one a-coming; and pretty soon I knowed it was Hul- 
dah. She was one that married Paul s cousin, and she 

224 DEED 

lived on Jones s place. And so I got up and went to 
meet her, and told her I was going over to see bout 

" Lord! says she, Milly, haven t you heard dat 
Alfred s dead? 

"Well, Miss Nina, it seemed as if my heart and every 
thing in it stopped still. And said I, Huldah, has dey 
killed him ? 

"And said she, c Yes. And she told me it was dis yer 
way. Dat Stiles he dat was Jones s overseer had 
heard dat Alfred was dreadful spirity; and when boys is 
so, sometimes dey aggravates em to get em riled, and den 
dey whips em to break em in. So Stiles, when he was 
laying off Alfred s task, was real aggravating to him; and 
dat boy well, he answered back, just as he allers would 
be doing, cause he was smart, and it peared like he 
couldn t keep it in. And den dey all laughed round dere, 
and den Stiles was mad, and swore he d whip him; and 
den Alfred, he cut and run. And den Stiles he swore 
awful at him, and he told him to come here, and he d 
give him hell, and pay him de cash. Dem is de very 
words he said to my boy. And Alfred said he wouldn t 
come back; he wasn t going to be whipped. And just den 
young Master Bill come along, and wanted to know what 
was de matter. So Stiles told him, and he took out his 
pistol, and said, Here, young dog, if you don t come 
back before I count five, I 11 fire! 

" Fire ahead! says Alfred; cause, you see, dat boy 
never knowed what fear was. And so he fired. And 
Huldah said he just jumped up and give one scream, and 
fell flat. And dey run up to him, and he was dead; 
cause, you see, de bullet went right through his heart. 
Well, dey took off his jacket and looked, but it wa n t of 
no use; his face settled down still. And Huldah said dat 
dey just dug a hole and put him in. Nothing on him 


nothing round him no coffin; like he d been a dog. 
Huldah showed me de jacket. Dere was de hole, cut 
right round in it, like it was stamped, and his blood run 
ning out on it. I didn t say a word. I took up de 
jacket, and wrapped it up with his Sunday clothes, and 
I walked straight straight home. I walked up into 
missis room, and she was dressed for church, sure enough, 
and sat dere reading her Bible. I laid it right down 
under her face, dat jacket. You see dat hole! said I; 
L you see dat blood! Alfred s killed! You killed him; 
his blood be on you and your chil en! Lord God in 
heaven, hear me, and render unto her double ! ; 

Nina drew in her breath hard, with an instinctive shud 
der. Milly had drawn herself up, in the vehemence of 
her narration, and sat leaning forward, her black eyes 
dilated, her strong arms clenched before her, and her pow 
erful frame expanding and working with the violence of 
her emotion. She might have looked, to one with myth 
ological associations, like the figure of a black marble 
Nemesis in a trance of wrath. She sat so for a few 
minutes, and then her muscles relaxed, her eyes gradually 
softened ; she looked tenderly but solemnly down on 
Nina. "Dem was awful words, chile; but I was in 
Egypt den. I was wandering in de wilderness of Sinai. 
I had heard de sound of de trumpet, and de voice of 
words; but, chile, I hadn t seen de Lord. Well I 
went out, and I didn t speak no more to Miss Harrit. 
Dere was a great gulf fixed tween us; and dere didn t no 
words pass over it. I did my work I scorned not to do 
it; but I didn t speak to her. Den it was, chile, dat I 
thought of what my mother told me, years ago; it came 
to me, all fresh Chile, when trouble comes, you ask de 
Lord to help you; and I saw dat I hadn t asked de Lord 
to help me; and now, says I to myself, de Lord can t 
help me; cause he couldn t bring back Alfred, no way 

VOL. I. 

226 DEED 

you could fix it; and yet I wanted to find de Lord, cause 
I was so tossed up and down. I wanted just to go and 
say, Lord, you see what dis woman has done. I wanted 
to put it to him, if he d stand up for such a thing as that. 
Lord, how de world, and everything, looked to me in dem 
times! Everything goin on in de way it did; and dese 
yer Christians, dat said dat dey was going into de king 
dom, doing as dey did! I tell you, I sought de Lord 
early and late. Many nights I have been out in de woods 
and laid on de ground till morning, calling and crying, and 
peared like nobody heerd me. Oh, how strange it used 
to look, when I looked up to de stars ! winking at me, so 
kind of still and solemn, but never saying a word ! Some 
times I got dat wild, it seemed as if I could tear a hole 
through de sky, cause I must find God; I had an errand 
to him, and I must find him. 

"Den I heard em read out de Bible, bout how de Lord 
met a man on a threshing-floor, and I thought maybe if 
I had a threshing-floor he would come to me. So I 
threshed down a place just as hard as I could under de 
trees; and den I prayed dere but he didn t come. Den 
dere was coming a great camp-meeting; and I thought 
I d go and see if I could find de Lord dere; because, you 
see, missis, she let her people go Sunday to de camp- 
meeting. Well, I went into de tents and heerd dem sing; 
and I went afore de altar, and I heerd preaching; but it 
peared like it was no good. It didn t touch me nowhere; 
and I could n t see nothing to it. I heerd em read out 
of de Bible, Oh, dat I knew where I might find him. 
I would come even to his seat. I would order my cause 
before him. I would fill my mouth with arguments ; 
and I thought, sure enough, dat ar s just what I want. 
Well, came on dark night, and dey had all de camp-fires 
lighted up, and dey was singing de hymns round and 
round, and I went for to hear de preaching. And dere 


was a man, pale, lean man he was, with black eyes and 
black hair. Well, dat ar man, he preached a sermon, to 
be sure, I never shall forget. His text was, He that 
spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for 
us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all 
things 1 Well, you see, the first sound of dis took me, 
because I d lost my son. And the man, he told us who 
de son of God was, Jesus, Oh, how sweet and beauti 
ful he was! How he went round doing for folks. 
Lord, what a story dat ar was ! And den, how dey took 
him, and put de crown of thorns on his head, and hung 
him up bleeding, bleeding, and bleeding! God so loved 
us dat he let his own dear Son suffer all dat for us. 
Chile, I got up, and I went to de altar, and I kneeled 
down with de mourners; and I fell flat on my face, and 
dey said I was in a trance. Maybe I was. Where I 
was, I don t know; but I saw de Lord! Chile, it seemed 
as if my very heart was still. I saw him, suffering, bear 
ing with us, year in and year out bearing bearing 
bearing so patient! Feared like, it wa n t just on de 
cross; but, bearing always, every whar! Oh, chile, I saw 
how he loved us ! us all all every one on us ! 
we dat hated each other so! Feared like he was using 
his heart up for us, all de time bleedin for us like he 
did on Calvary, and willin to bleed! Oh, chile, I saw 
what it was for me to be hatin , like I d hated. 
Lord, says I, I give up ! Lord, never see you afore ; 
I didn t know. Lord, I s a poor sinner! I won t hate 
no more ! And oh, chile, den dere come such a rush of 
love in my soul ! Says I, Lord, I ken love even de 
white folks ! And den came another rush ; and says I, 
Yes, Lord, I love poor Miss Harrit, dat s sole all my 
chil en, and been de death of my poor Alfred! I loves 
her. Chile, I overcome I did so I overcome by de 
blood of de Lamb de Lamb ! Yes, de Lamb, chile ! 

228 DEED 

cause if he d been a lion I could a kept in; twas de 
Lamb dat overcome. 

"When I come to, I felt like a chile. I went home to 
Miss Harrit; and I hadn t spoke peaceable to her since 
Alfred died. I went in to her. She d been sick, and 
she was in her room, looking kinder pale and yaller, poor 
thing; cause her son, honey, he got drunk and bused 
her awful. I went in, and says I, Oh, Miss Harrit, I s 
seen de Lord! Miss Harrit, I ain t got no more hard 
feelin s; I forgive ye, and loves ye with all my heart, just 
as de Lord does. Honey, ye ought to see how dat 
woman cried! Says she, Milly, I s a great sinner. 
Says I, Miss Harrit, we s sinners, both on us, but de 
Lord gives hisself for us both; and if he loves us poor 
sinners, we mustn t be hard on each other. Ye was 
tempted, honey, says I (for you see I felt like makin 
scuses for her); but de Lord Jesus has got a pardon for 
both on us. 

"After dat, I didn t have no more trouble with Miss 
Harrit. Chile, we was sisters in Jesus. I bore her bur 
dens, and she bore mine. And, dear, de burdens was 
heavy; for her son he was brought home a corpse; he shot 
hisself right through de heart trying to load a gun when 
he was drunk. Oh, chile, I thought den how I d prayed 
de Lord to render unto her double; but I had a better 
mind den. Ef I could have brought poor Mas r George to 
life, I d a done it; and I held de poor woman s head on 
my arm all dat ar night, and she a-screamin every hour. 
Well, dat ar took her down to de grave. She did n t live 
much longer; but she was ready to die. She sent and 
bought my daughter Lucy s son, dis here Tom, and gin 
him to me. Poor thing ! she did all she could. 

"I watched with her de night she died. Oh, Miss 
Nina, if ever ye re tempted to hate anybody, think how 
t 11 be with em when dey comes to die. 


"She died hard, poor thing! and she was cast down 
bout her sins. Oh, Milly, says she, the Lord and you 
may forgive me, but I can t forgive myself. 

" And, says I to her, oh, missis, don t think of it 
no more ! de Lord s hid it in his own heart ! Oh, but- 
she struggled long, honey; she was all night dyin , and 
twas Milly! Milly! all de time; Oh, Milly, stay with 

"And, chile, I felt I loved her like my own soul; and 
when de day broke de Lord set her free, and I laid her 
down like she d been one o my babies. I took up her 
poor hand. It was warm, but the strength was all gone 
out on t; and, Oh, I thought, ye poor thing, how 
could I ever have hated ye so ? Ah, chile, we must n t 
hate nobody; we s all poor creatures, and de dear Lord 
he loves us all." 



ABOUT four miles east of Canema lay the plantation of 
Nina s uncle, whither Harry had been sent on the morning 
which we have mentioned. The young man went upon 
his errand in no very enviable mood of mind. Uncle 
Jack, as Nina always called him, was the nominal guard 
ian of the estate, and a more friendly and indulgent one 
Harry could not have desired. He was one of those joy 
ous, easy souls whose leading desire seemed to be that 
everybody in the world should make himself as happy as 
possible, without fatiguing him with consultations as to 
particulars. His confidence in Harry was unbounded; 
and he esteemed it a good fortune that it was so, as he 
was wont to say, laughingly, that his own place was more 
than he could manage. Like all gentlemen who make the 
study of their own ease a primary consideration, Uncle 
Jack found the whole course of nature dead-set against 
him. For as all creation is evidently organized with a 
view to making people work, it follows that no one has so 
much care as the man who resolves not to take any. 
Uncle Jack was systematically, and as a matter of course, 
cheated and fleeced by his overseers, by his negroes, and 
the poor whites of his vicinity, and worst of all, contin 
ually hectored and lectured by his wife therefor. Nature, 
or Destiny, or whoever the lady may be that deals the 
matrimonial cards, with her usual thoughtfulness in balan 
cing opposites, had arranged that jovial, easy, care-hating 
Uncle John should have been united to a most undaunted 


and ever-active spirit of enterprise and resolution, who 
never left anything quiet in his vicinity. She it was who 
continually disturbed his repose, by constantly ferreting 
out, and bringing before his view, all the plots, treasons, 
and conspiracies with which plantation life is ever abound 
ing; bringing down on his devoted head the necessity of 
discriminations, decisions, and settlements, most abhorrent 
to an easy man. 

The fact was, that responsibility, aggravated by her 
husband s negligence, had transformed the worthy woman 
into a sort of domestic dragon of the Hesperides; and her 
good helpmeet declared that he believed she never slept, 
nor meant anybody else should. It was all very well, he 
would observe. He would n t quarrel with her for walk 
ing the whole night long, or sleeping with her head out of 
the window, watching the smoke-house; for stealing out 
after one o clock to convict Pompey, or circumvent Cuff, 
if she only wouldn t bother him with it. Suppose the 
half of the hams were carried off, between two and three, 
and sold to Abijah Skinflint for rum 1 He must have his 
sleep; and if he had to pay for it in ham, why, he d pay 
for it in ham; but sleep he must, and would. And sup 
posing he really believed, in his own soul, that Cuffy, who 
came in the morning, with a long face, to announce the 
theft, and to propose measures of discovery, was in fact 
the main conspirator what then? He couldn t prove it 
on him. Cuff had gone astray from the womb, speaking 
lies ever since he was born; and what would be the use of 
his fretting and sweating himself to death to get truth out 
of Cuff? No, no! Mrs. G., as he commonly called his 
helpmeet, might do that sort of thing, but she mustn t 
bother him about it. Not that Uncle Jack was invariable 
in his temper; human nature has its limits, and a person 
age who finds " mischief still for idle hands to do " often 
seems to take a malicious pleasure in upsetting the temper 

232 DEED 

of idle gentlemen. So Uncle Jack, though, confessedly 
the best fellow in the world, was occasionally subject to a 
tropical whirlwind of passion, in which he would stamp, 
tear, and swear, with most astounding energy ; and in those 
ignited moments all the pent-up sorrows, of his soul would 
fly about him, like red-hot shot, in every direction. And 
then he would curse the negroes, curse the overseers, curse 
the plantation, curse Cuff and Pomp and Dinah, curse the 
poor white folks round, curse Mr. Abijah Skinflint, and 
declare that he would send them and the niggers all sev 
erally to a department which politeness forbids us to men 
tion. He would pour out awful threats of cutting up, 
skinning alive, and selling to Georgia. To all which com 
motion and bluster the negroes would listen, rolling the 
whites of their eyes, and sticking their tongues in their 
cheeks, with an air of great satisfaction and amusement; 
because experience had sufficiently proved to them that 
nobody had ever been cut up, skinned alive, or sent to 
Georgia, as the result of any of these outpourings. So 
when Uncle Jack had one of these fits, they treated it as 
hens do an approaching thunderstorm, ran under cover, 
and waited for it to blow over. 

As to Madam Gordon, her wrath was another affair. 
And her threats they had learned to know generally meant 
something; though it very often happened that, in the 
dispensation of most needed justice, Uncle Jack, if in an 
extra good humor, would rush between the culprit and his 
mistress, and bear him off in triumph, at the risk of most 
serious consequences to himself afterwards. Our readers 
are not to infer from this that Madam Gordon was really 
and naturally an ill-natured woman. She was only one 
of that denomination of vehement housekeepers who are 
to be found the world over women to whom is appointed 
the hard mission of combating, single handed, for the prin 
ciples of order and exactness, against a whole world in 


arms. Had she had the good fortune to have been born 
in Vermont or Massachusetts, she would have been known 
through the whole village as a woman who couldn t be 
cheated half a cent on a pound in meat, and had an in 
stinctive knowledge whether a cord of wood was too short, 
or a pound of butter too light. Put such a woman at the 
head of the disorderly rabble of a plantation, with a cheat 
ing overseer, surrounded by thieving poor whites, to whom 
the very organization of society leaves no resource but 
thieving, with a never-mind husband, with land that has 
seen its best days, and is fast running to barrenness, and 
you must not too severely question her temper, if it should 
not be at all times in perfect subjection. In fact, Madam 
Gordon s cap habitually bristled with horror, and she was 
rarely known to sit down. Occasionally, it is true, she 
alighted upon a chair, but was in a moment up again, to 
pursue some of her household train, or shout, at the top 
of her lungs, some caution toward the kitchen. 

When Harry reined up his horse before the plantation, 
the gate was thrown open for him by old Pomp, a super 
annuated negro, who reserved this function as his peculiar 

"Lord bress you, Harry, dat you? Bress you, you 
ought fur to see mas r ! Such a gale up to de house ! " 

"What s the matter, Pomp?" 

"Why, mas r, he done got one of he fits! Tarin round 
dar, fit to split! stompin up and down de randy, 
swarin like mad! Lord, if he ain t! He done got Jake 
tied up, dar! swars he s goin to cut him to pieces! 
He ! he ! he ! Has so ! Got Jake tied up dar ! Ho ! ho ! 
ho! Real curus! And he s blowin hisself out dere 
mighty hard, I tell you ! So, if you want to get word wid 
him, you can t do it till he done got through wid dis 
yer ! " And the old man ducked his pepper-and-salt-col 
ored head, and chuckled with a lively satisfaction. 

234 DEED 

As Harry rode slowly up the avenue to the house, he 
caught sight of the portly figure of its master, stamping up 
and down the veranda, vociferating and gesticulating in 
the most violent manner. He was a corpulent man, of 
middle age, with a round, high forehead, set off with griz 
zled hair. His blue eyes, fair, rosy, fat face, his mouth 
adorned with brilliant teeth, gave him, when in good 
humor, the air of a handsome and agreeable man. At 
present his countenance was flushed almost to purple, as 
he stood storming, from his rostrum, at a saucy, ragged 
negro, who, tied to the horse-post, stood the picture of 
unconcern ; while "a crowd of negro men, women, and chil 
dren were looking on. 

"I ll teach you!" he vociferated, shaking his fist. "I 
won t won t bear it of you, you dog, you! You won t 
take my orders, won t you? I ll kill you that I will! 
I 11 cut you up into inch pieces ! " 

"No, you won t, and you know you won t!" interposed 
Mrs. Gordon, who sat at the window behind him. "You 
won t, and you know you won t! and they know you 
won t, too! It will all end in smoke, as it always does. 
I only wish you wouldn t talk and threaten, because it 
makes you ridiculous ! " 

"Hold your tongue, too! I ll be master in my own 
house, I say ! Infernal dog ! I say, Cuff, cut him up ! 
Why don t you go at him? Give it to him! What 
you waiting for ? " 

"If mas r pleases!" said Cuff, rolling up his eyes, and 
making a deprecating gesture. 

"If I please! W T ell, blast you, I do please! Go at 
him! thrash away! Stay, I ll come myself." And 
seizing a cowhide, which lay near him, he turned up his 
cuffs, and ran down the steps, but missing his footing in 
his zeal, came head-first against the very post where the 
criminal was tied. 


"There! I hope, now, you are satisfied! You have 
killed me ! you have broke my head, you have ! I shall 
be laid up a month, all for you, you ungrateful dog ! " 

Cuffy and Sambo came to the rescue, raised him up 
carefully, and began brushing the dust off his clothes, 
smothering the laughter with which they seemed ready to 
explode, while the culprit at the post seemed to consider 
this an excellent opportunity to put in his submission. 

"Please, mas r, do forgive me! I tole em to go out, 
and dey said dey wouldn t. I didn t mean no harm 
when I said * Mas r had better go hisself ; cause I thinks 
so now. Mas r had better go! Dem folks is curus, and 
dey won t go for none of us. Dey just acts ridiculous, 
dey does! And I didn t mean fur to be sarcy, nor 
nothin . I say gin, if mas r 11 take his horse and go 
over dar, mas r drive dose folks out; and nobody else can t 
do it! We done can t do it dey jest sarce us. Now, 
fore my Heavenly Master, all dis yere is de truth I ve been 
telling. De Lord, de Master, knows it is; and if mas r 11 
take his horse, and ride down dere, he d see so; so dere, 
jest as I ve been telling mas r. I did n t mean no harm 
at all, I didn t!" 

The quarrel, it must be told, related to the ejecting of 
a poor white family which had squatted, as the phrase is, 
in a deserted cabin, on a distant part of the Gordon plan 
tation. Mrs. Gordon s untiring assiduity having discov 
ered this fact, she had left her husband no peace till some 
thing was undertaken in the way of ejectment. He 
accordingly commissioned Jake, a stout negro, on the 
morning of the present day, to go over and turn them off. 
Now, Jake, who inherited to the full the lofty contempt 
with which the plantation negro regards the poor white 
folks, started upon his errand, nothing loath, and whistled 
his way in high feather, with two large dogs at his heels. 
But when he found a miserable, poor, sick woman, sur- 

236 DEED 

rounded by four starving children, Jake s mother s milk 
came back to him, and instead of turning them out, he 
actually pitched a dish of cold potatoes in among them, 
which he picked up in a neighboring cabin, with about the 
same air of contemptuous pity with which one throws 
scraps to a dog. And then, meandering his way back to 
the house, informed his master that "he couldn t turn de 
white trash out, and if he wanted them turned out, he 
would have to go hisself." 

Now, we all know that a fit of temper has very often 
nothing to do with the thing which appears to give rise 
to it. When a cloud is full charged with electricity, it 
makes no difference which bit of wire is put in. The 
flash and the thunder come one way as well as another. 
Mr. Gordon had received troublesome letters on business, 
a troublesome lecture from his wife, his corn-cake had been 
overdone at breakfast, and his coffee burned bitter; be 
sides which, he had a cold in his head coming on, and 
there was a settlement brewing with the overseer. In con 
sequence of all which things, though Jake s mode of 
delivering himself was n t a whit more saucy than ordinary, 
the storm broke upon him then and there, and raged as 
we have described. The heaviest part of it, however, 
being now spent, Mr. Gordon consented to pardon the 
culprit on condition that he would bring him up his horse 
immediately, when he would ride over and see if he 
could n t turn out the offending party. He pressed Harry, 
who was rather a favorite of his, into the service; and in 
the course of a quarter of an hour they were riding off in 
the direction of the squatter s cabin. 

"It s perfectly insufferable, what we proprietors have 
to bear from this tribe of creatures!" he said. "There 
ought to be hunting-parties got up to chase them down, 
and exterminate em, just as we do rats. It would be a 
kindness to them; the only thing you can do for them is 


to kill them. As for charity, or that kind of thing, you 
might as well throw victuals into the hollow logs as to try 
to feed em. The government ought to pass laws, we 
will have laws, somehow or other, and get them out of 
the state." 

And so discoursing, the good man at length arrived 
before the door of a miserable, decaying log cabin, out of 
whose glassless windows dark emptiness looked, as out of 
the eyeholes of a skull. Two scared, cowering children 
disappeared round the corner as he approached. He kicked 
open the door, and entered. Crouched on a pile of dirty 
straw sat a miserable, haggard woman, with large, wild 
eyes, sunken cheeks, disheveled, matted hair, and long, 
lean hands, like bird s claws. At her skinny breast an 
emaciated infant was hanging, pushing, with its little 
skeleton hands, as if to force the nourishment which 
nature no longer gave; and two scared-looking children, 
with features wasted and pinched blue with famine, were 
clinging to her gown. The whole group huddled together, 
drawing as far as possible away from the newcomer, looked 
up with large, frightened eyes, like hunted wild animals. 

"What you here for?" was the first question of Mr. 
Gordon, put in no very decided tone; for if the truth 
must be told, his combativeness was oozing out. 

The woman did not answer, and after a pause, the 
youngest child piped up in a shrill voice, 

"Ain t got nowhere else to be! " 

"Yes," said the woman, "we camped on Mr. Durant s 
place, and Bobfield him is the overseer pulled down 
the cabin right over our head. Pears like we couldn t 
get nowhere." 

"Where is your husband? " 

"Gone looking for work. Pears like he couldn t get 
none nowhere. Pears like nobody wants us. But we 
have got to be somewhere, though ! " said the woman in 

238 DEED 

a melancholy, apologetic tone. "We can t die, as I see! 
wish we could ! " 

Mr. Gordon s eye fell upon two or three cold potatoes 
in a piece of broken crock, over which the woman appeared 
keeping jealous guard. 

"What you doing with those potatoes?" 

"Saving them for the children s dinner." 

"And is that all you ve got to eat, I want to know? " 
said Mr. Gordon in a high, sharp tone, as if he were 
getting angry very fast. 

"Yes," said the woman. 

" What did you have to eat yesterday ? " 

" Nothing ! " said the woman. 

"And what did you eat the day before? " 

"Found some old bones round the nigger houses; and 
some on em give us some corn-cake." 

"Why the devil did n t you send up to my house, and get 
some bacon? Picking up bones, slop, and swill, round 
the nigger huts? Why didn t you send up for some ham, 
and some meal? Lord bless you, you don t think Madam 
Gordon is a dog to bite you, do you? Wait here till I 
send you down something fit to eat. Just end in my 
having to take care of you, I see ! And if you are going 
to stay here, there will be something to be done to keep 
the rain out ! " 

"There, now," he said to Harry, as he was mounting 
his horse, "just see what tis to be made with hooks in 
one s back, like me! Everybody hangs on to me , of 
course ! Now, there s Durant turns off these folks; there s 
Peters turns them off! Well, what s the consequence? 
They come and litter down on me, just because I am an 
easy, soft-hearted old fool! It s too devilish badl They 
breed like rabbits! What God Almighty makes such 
people for, I don t know! I suppose He does. But 
there s these poor, miserable trash have children like 


sixty; and there s folks living in splendid houses, dying 
for children, and can t have any. If they manage one or 
two, the scarlet fever or whooping-cough makes off with 
em. Lord bless me, things go on in a terrible mixed-up 
way in this world! And then, what upon earth I m to 
say to Mrs. G. ! I know what she 11 say to me. She 11 
tell me she told me so that s what she always says. I 
wish she d go and see them herself I do so! Mrs. G. 
is the nicest kind of a woman no mistake about that; 
but she has an awful deal of energy, that woman! It s 
dreadful fatiguing to a quiet man, like me dreadful ! 
But I m sure I don t know what I should do without her. 
She ll be down upon me about this woman; but the 
woman must have some ham, that s flat ! Cold potatoes 
and old bones ! Pretty story ! Such people have no busi 
ness to live at all; but if they will live, they ought to 
eat Christian things! There goes Jake. Why couldn t 
he turn em off before I saw em? It would have saved 
me all this plague ! Dog knew what he was about when 
he got me down here! Jake! Oh, Jake, Jake! come 
here ! " 

Jake came shambling along up to his master, with an 
external appearance of the deepest humility, under which 
was too plainly seen to lurk a facetious air of waggish satis 

"Here, you, Jake; you get a basket" 

"Yes, mas r!" said Jake, with an air of provoking 

"Be still saying { Yes, mas r, and hear what I ve got 
to say ! Mind yourself ! " 

Jake gave a side glance of inexpressible drollery at 
Harry, and then stood like an ebony statue of submission. 

" You go to your missis, and ask her for the key of the 
smoke-house, and bring it to me." 

"Yes, sir." 

240 DEED 

"And you tell your missis to send me a peck of meal. 
Stay a loaf of bread, or some biscuit, or corn-cake, or 
anything else which may happen to be baked up. Tell 
her I want them sent out right away." 

Jake bowed and disappeared. 

"Now we may as well ride down this path, while he is 
gone for the things. Mrs. G. will blow off on him first, 
so that rather less of it will come upon me. I wish I 
could get her to see them herself. Lord bless her, she is 
a kind-hearted woman enough! but she thinks there s no 
use doing, and there ain t. She is right enough about 
it. But then, as the woman says, there must be some 
place for them to be in the world. The world is wide 
enough, I m sure! Plague take it! why can t we pass a 
law to take them all in with our niggers, and then they d 
have some one to take care of them ! Then we d do some 
thing for them, and there d be some hope of keeping em 
comfortable. " 

Harry felt in nowise inclined to reply to any of this 
conversation, because he knew that, though nominally 
addressed to him, the good gentleman was talking merely 
for the sake of easing his mind, and that he would have 
opened his heart just as freely to the next hickory bush, 
if he had not happened to be present. So he let him 
expend himself, waiting for an opportunity to introduce 
subjects which lay nearer his heart. 

In a convenient pause he found opportunity to say, 

"Miss Nina sent me over here, this morning." 

"Ah, Nin! my pretty little Nin! Bless the child! 
She did 1 Why could n t she come over herself, and com 
fort an old fellow s heart? Nm is the prettiest girl in the 
county ! I tell you that, Harry ! " 

"Miss Nina is in a good deal of trouble. Master Tom 
came home last night drunk, and to-day he is so cross and 
contrary she can t do anything with him." 


"Drunk 1 ? Oh, what a sad dog! Tom gets drunk too 
often! Carries that too far, altogether! Told him that, 
the last time I talked to him. Says I, Tom, it does very 
well for a young man to have a spree once in one or two 
months. I did it myself, when I was young. But, says 
I, Tom, to spree all the time won t do, Tom! says I. 
Nobody minds a fellow being drunk occasionally ; but he 
ought to be moderate about it, and know where to stop, 
says I ; because, when it comes to that, that he is drunk 
every day, or every other day, why, it s my opinion that 
he may consider the devil s got him! I talked to Tom 
just so, right out square; because, you see, I m in a 
father s place to him. But, Lord, it don t seem to have 
done him a bit of good ! Good Lord ! they tell me he is 
drunk one half his time, and acts like a crazy creature ! 
Goes too far, Tom does, altogether. Mrs. G. ain t got 
any patience with him. She blasts at him every time he 
comes here, and he blasts at her; so it ain t very comfort 
able having him here. Good woman at heart, Mrs. Gor 
don, but a little strong in her ways, you know; and Tom 
is strong, too. So it s fire fight fire when they get to 
gether. It s noways comfortable to a man wanting to 
have everybody happy around him. Lord bless me! I 
wish Nin were my daughter! Why can t she come over 
here, and live with me ? She has n t got any more spirit 
in her than just what I like. Just enough fizz in her to 
keep one from flatting out. What about those beaux of 
hers 1 Is she going to be married 1 Hey 1 " 

"There s two gentlemen there, attending upon Miss 
Nina. One is Mr. Carson, of New York " 

"Hang it all! she isn t going to marry a d d Yankee! 
Why, brother would turn over in his grave ! " 

"I don t think it will be necessary to put himself to 
that trouble," said Harry, "for I rather think it s Mr. 
Clayton who is to be the favored one." 

VOL. I. 

242 DEED 

"Clayton! good blood! like that! Seems to be a 
gentlemanly good fellow, does n t he ? " 

"Yes, sir. He owns a plantation, I m told, in South 
Carolina. " 

"Ah! ah! that s well! But I hate to spare Nin! I 
never half liked sending her off to New York. Don t 
believe in boarding-schools. I ve seen as fine girls grown 
on plantations as any man need want. What do we want 
to send our girls there, to get fipenny-bit ideas 1 I thank 
the Lord I never was in New York, and I ne\er mean to 
be! Carolina born and raised, I am; and my wife is 
Virginia pure breed! No boarding-school about her! 
And when I stood up to be married to her, there was n t 
a girl in Virginia could stand up with her. Her cheeks 
were like damask roses! A tall, straight, lively girl, she 
was! Knew her own mind, and had a good notion of 
speaking it, too. And there isn t a woman, now, that 
can get through the business she can, and have her eyes 
always on everything. If it does make me uncomfortable, 
every now and then, I ought to take it, and thank the 
Lord for it. For if it wa n t for her, what with the over 
seer, and the niggers, and the poor Avhite trash, we should 
all go to the devil in a heap ! " 

"Miss Nina sent me over here to be out of Master 
Tom s way," said Harry, after a pause. "He is bent 
upon hectoring me, as usual. You know, sir, that he 
always had a spite against me, and it seems to grow more 
and more bitter. He quarrels with her about the manage 
ment of everything on the place ; and you know, sir, that 
I try to do my very best, and you and Mrs. Gordon have 
always been pleased to say that I did well." 

"So we did, Harry, my boy! So we did! Stay here 
as long as you like. Just suit yourself about that. Maybe 
you d like to go out shooting with me." 

"I m worried," said Harry, "to be obliged to be away 


just at the time of putting in the seed. Everything de 
pends upon my overseeing." 

"Why don t you go back, then? Tom s ugliness is 
nothing but because he is drunk. There s where it is! 
I see through it! You see, when a fellow has had a 
drunken spree, why, the day after it he is all at loose ends 
and cross nerves all raveled out, like an old stocking. 
Then fellows are sulky and surly like. I ve heard of 
their having temperance societies up in those northern 
states, and I think something of that sort would be good 
for our young men. They get drunk too often. Full a 
third of them, I should reckon, get the delirium tremens 
before they are fifty. If we could have a society like 
them, and that sort of thing, and agree to be moderate! 
Nobody expects young men to be old before their time; 
but if they d agree not to blow out more than once a 
month, or something in that way ! " 

"I m afraid," said Harry, "Master Tom s too far gone 
for that." 

"Oh, ay! yes! Pity, pity! Suppose it is so. Why, 
when a fellow gets so far, he s like a nigger s old patched 
coat you can t tell where the real cloth is. Now, Tom; 
I suppose he never is himself always up on a wave, or 
down in the trough ! Heigho ! I m sorry ! " 

"It s very hard on Miss Nina," said Harry. "He in 
terferes, and I have no power to stand for her. And, 
yesterday, he began talking to my wife in a way I can t 
bear, nor won t! He must let her alone! " 

" Sho ! sho ! " said Mr. Gordon, " See what a boy that 
is, now! That ain t in the least worth while that ain t! 
I shall tell Tom so. And, Harry, mind your temper! 
Remember, young men will be young; and if a fellow 
will treat himself to a pretty wife, he must expect trials. 
But Tom ought not to do so. I shall tell him. High ! 
there comes Jake, with the basket and the smoke-house 

244 DEED 

key. Now for something to send down to those poor 
hobgohlins. If people are going to starve, they mustn t 
come on to my place to do it. I don t mind what I don t 
see I wouldn t mind if the whole litter of em was 
drowned to-morrow; but, hang it, I can t stand it if I 
know it! So, here, Jake, take this ham and bread, and 
look em up an old skillet, and see if you can t tinker up 
the house a bit. I d set the fellow to work, when he 
comes back, only we have two hands to every turn, now, 
and the niggers always plague em. Harry, yon go home, 
and tell Nin Mrs. G. and I will be over to dinner." 



HARRY spent the night at the place of Mr. John Gor 
don, and arose the next morning in a very discontented 
mood of mind. Nothing is more vexatious to an active 
and enterprising person than to be thrown into a state of 
entire idleness; and Harry, after lounging about for a 
short time in the morning, found his indignation increased 
by every moment of enforced absence from the scene of his 
daily labors and interest. Having always enjoyed substan 
tially the privileges of a free man in the ability to regulate 
his time according to his own ideas, to come and go, to 
buy and sell, and transact business unfettered by any felt 
control, he was the more keenly alive to the degradation 
implied in his present position. 

"Here I must skulk around," said he to himself, "like 
a partridge in the bushes, allowing everything to run at 
loose ends, preparing the way for my being found fault 
with for a lazy fellow by and by ; and all for what ? Be 
cause my younger brother chooses to come, without right 
or reason, to domineer over me, to insult my wife; and 
because the laws will protect him in it, if he does it ! Ah ! 
ah! that s it. They are all leagued together! No matter 
how right I am no matter how bad he is ! Everybody 
will stand up for him, and put me down; all because my 
grandmother was born in Africa, and his grandmother was 
born in America. Confound it all, I won t stand it! 
Who knows what he 11 be saying and doing to Lisette 
while I am gone? I 11 go back and face him, like a man! 

246 DEED 

I 11 keep straight about my business, and if he crosses 
me, let him take care! He hasn t got but one life, any 
more than I have. Let him look out ! " 

And Harry jumped upon his horse, and turned his head 
homeward. He struck into a circuitous path, which led 
along that immense belt of swampy land to which the name 
of Dismal has been given. As he was riding along 
immersed in thought, the clatter of horses feet was heard 
in front of him. A sudden turn of the road brought him 
directly facing to Tom Gordon and Mr. Jekyl, who had 
risen early and started off on horseback, in order to reach 
a certain stage depot before the heat of the day. There 
was a momentary pause on both sides ; when Tom Gordon, 
like one who knows his power, and is determined to use it 
to the utmost, broke out scornfully : 

"Stop, you d d nigger, and tell your master where 
you are going ! " 

"You are not my master! " said Harry, in words whose 
concentrated calmness conveyed more bitterness and wrath 
than could have been given by the most violent out 

"You d d whelp!" said Tom Gordon, striking him 
across the face twice with his whip, "take that, and that! 
We ll see if I m not your master! There, now, help 
yourself, won t you? Isn t that a master s mark?" 

It had been the lifelong habit of Harry s position to 
repress every emotion of anger within himself. But at 
this moment his face wore a deadly and frightful expres 
sion. Still, there was something majestic and almost 
commanding in the attitude with which he reined back 
his horse, and slowly lifted his hand to heaven. He 
tried to speak, but his voice was choked with repressed 
passion. At last he said : 

"You may be sure, Mr. Gordon, this mark will never 
be f qrgotten ! " 

DEED 247 

There are moments of high excitement, when all that is 
in a human being seems to be roused, and to concentrate 
itself in the eye and the voice. And in such moments 
any man, apparently by virtue of his mere humanity, by 
the mere awfulness of the human soul that is in him, gains 
power to overawe those who in other hours scorn him. 
There was a minute s pause in which neither spoke; and 
Mr. Jekyl, who was a man of peace, took occasion to 
touch Tom s elbow, and say: 

"It seems to me this isn t worth while we shall miss 
the stage." And as Harry had already turned his horse 
and was riding away, Tom Gordon turned his, shouting 
after him, with a scornful laugh : 

" I called on your wife before I came away this morning, 
and I liked her rather better the second time than I did 
the first!" 

This last taunt flew like a Parthian arrow backward, 
and struck into the soul of the bondman with even a 
keener power than the degrading blow. The sting of it 
seemed to rankle more bitterly as he rode along, till at 
last he dropped the reins on his horse s neck, and burst 
into a transport of bitter cursing. 

"Aha! aha! it has come nigh thee, has it? It touch- 
eth thee, and thou faintest ! " said a deep voice from the 
swampy thicket beside him. 

Harry stopped his horse and his imprecations. There 
was a crackling in the swamp, and a movement among the 
copse of briers; and at last the speaker emerged, and stood 
before Harry. He was a tall black man, of magnificent 
stature and proportions. His skin was intensely black, 
and polished like marble. A loose shirt of red flannel, 
which opened very wide at the breast, gave a display of 
a neck and chest of herculean strength. The sleeves of 
the shirt, rolled up nearly to the shoulders, showed the 
muscles of a gladiator. The head, which rose with an 

248 DEED 

imperial air from the broad shoulders, was large and mas 
sive, and developed with equal force both in the reflective 
and perceptive department. The perceptive organs jutted 
like dark ridges over the eyes, while that part of the head 
which phrenologists attribute to the moral and intellectual 
sentiments rose like an ample dome above them. The 
large eyes had that peculiar and solemn effect of unfathom 
able blackness and darkness which is often a striking char 
acteristic of the African eye. But there burned in them, 
like tongues of flame in a black pool of naphtha, a subtle 
and restless fire that betokened habitual excitement to the 
verge of insanity. If any organs were predominant in the 
head, they were those of ideality, wonder, veneration, and 
firmness; and the whole combination was such as might 
have formed one of the wild old warrior prophets of the 
heroic ages. He wore a fantastic sort of turban, apparently 
of an old scarlet shawl, which added to the outlandish 
effect of his appearance. His nether garments, of coarse 
negro-cloth, were girded round the waist by a strip of 
scarlet flannel, in which were thrust a bowie-knife and 
hatchet. Over one shoulder he carried a rifle, and a shot- 
pouch was suspended to his belt. A rude game-bag hung 
upon his arm. Wild and startling as the apparition might 
have been, it appeared to be no stranger to Harry; for 
after the first movement of surprise, he said in a tone of 
familiar recognition, in which there was blended somewhat 
of awe and respect : 

"Oh, it is you, then, Dred! I didn t know that you 
were hearing me ! " 

" Have I not heard 1 " said the speaker, raising his arm, 
and his eyes gleaming with wild excitement. "How long 
wilt thou halt between two opinions? Did not Moses 
refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh s daughter? How 
long wilt thou cast in thy lot with the oppressors of Israel, 
who say unto thee, Bow down that we may walk over 

DEED 249 

thee ? Shall not the Eed Sea be divided ? Yea, saith 
the Lord, it shall. " 

" Dred ! I know what you mean ! " said Harry, trem 
bling with excitement. 

"Yea, thou dost!" said the figure. "Yea, thou dost! 
Hast thou not eaten the fat and drunk the sweet with the 
oppressor, and hid thine eyes from the oppression of thy 
people ? Have not our wives been for a prey, and thou 
hast not regarded 1 Hath not our cheek been given to the 
smiter? Have we not been counted as sheep for the 
slaughter ? But thou saidst, Lo ! I knew it not, and 
didst hide thine eyes! Therefore, the curse of Meroz is 
upon thee, saith the Lord. And thou shalt bow down to 
the oppressor, and his rod shall be upon thee; and thy 
wife shall be for a prey ! " 

"Don t talk in that way! don t!" said Harry, strik 
ing out his hands with a frantic gesture, as if to push back 
the words. " You are raising the very devil in me ! " 

"Look here, Harry," said the other, dropping from the 
high tone he at first used to that of common conversation, 
and speaking in bitter irony, " did your master strike you ? 
It s sweet to kiss the rod, isn t it? Bend your neck and 
ask to be struck again ! won t you 1 Be meek and lowly ! 
that s the religion for you! You are a slave, and you 
wear broadcloth, and sleep soft. By and by he will give 
you a fip to buy salve for those cuts ! Don t fret about 
your wife! Women always like the master better than 
the slave! Why shouldn t they? When a man licks his 
master s foot, his wife scorns him, serves him right. 
Take it meekly, my boy ! Servants, obey your masters. 
Take your master s old coats take your wife when he s 
done with her and bless God that brought you under 
the light of the gospel! Go! you are a slave! But as 
for me," he said, drawing up his head, and throwing back 
his shoulders with a deep inspiration, " J am a free man! 

250 DEED 

Free by this," holding out his rifle. "Free by the Lord 
of hosts, that numbereth the stars, and calleth them forth 
by their names. Go home that s all I have to say to 
you ! You sleep in a curtained bed. I sleep on the 
ground, in the swamps ! You eat the fat of the land. I 
have what the ravens bring me ! But no man whips me ! 
no man touches my wife ! no man says to me, Why 
do ye so ? Go ! you are a slave ! I am free ! " And 
with one athletic bound, he sprang into the thicket, and 
was gone. 

The effect of this address on the already excited mind 
of the bondman may be better conceived than described. 
He ground his teeth and clenched his hands. 

"Stop!" he cried; "Dred, I will I will I 11 do as 
you tell me I will not be a slave ! " 

A scornful laugh was the only reply, and the sound of 
crackling footsteps retreated rapidly. He who retreated 
struck up, in a clear, loud voice, one of those peculiar 
melodies in which vigor and spirit are blended with a wild, 
inexpressible mournfulness. The voice was one of a sin 
gular and indescribable quality of tone; it was heavy as 
the sub- bass of an organ, and of a velvety softness, and 
yet it seemed to pierce the air with a keen dividing force 
which is generally characteristic of voices of much less 
volume. The words were the commencement of a wild 
camp-meeting hymn, much in vogue in those parts : 

" Brethren, don t you hear the sound ? 

The martial trumpet now is blowing; 
Men in order listing round, 
And soldiers to the standard flowing." 

There was a wild, exultant fullness of liberty that rolled 
in the note; and, to Harry s excited ear, there seemed in 
it a fierce challenge of contempt to his imbecility, and his 
soul at that moment seemed to be rent asunder with a 
pang such as only those can know who have felt what it 

DEED 251 

is to be a slave. There was an uprising within him, 
vague, tumultuous, overpowering; dim instincts, heroic 
aspirations; the will to do, the soul to dare; and then, in 
a moment, there followed the picture of all society leagued 
against him, the hopeless impossibility of any outlet to 
what was burning within him. The waters of a nature 
naturally noble, pent up, and without outlet, rolled back 
upon his heart with a suffocating force; and in his hasty 
anguish he cursed the day of his birth. The spasm of 
his emotion was interrupted by the sudden appearance of 
Milly coming along the path. 

"Why, bless you, Milly," said Harry in sudden sur 
prise, "where are you going? " 

"Oh, bless you, honey, chile, I s gwine on to take de 
stage. Dey wanted to get up de wagon for me ; but, bless 
you, says I, what you s pose de Lord gin us legs for? I 
never wants no critturs to tug me round, when I can walk 
myself. And den, honey, it s so pleasant like, to be 
a- walking along in de bush here, in de morning; pears 
like de voice of de Lord is walking among de trees. But 
bless you, chile, honey, what s de matter o yer face?" 

"It s Tom Gordon, d n him!" said Harry. 

"Don t talk dat ar way, chile!" said Milly, using the 
freedom with Harry which her years and weight of charac 
ter had gradually secured for her among the members of 
the plantation. 

"I will talk that way! Why shouldn t I? I am not 
going to be good any longer." 

"Why, t won t help de matter to be bad, will it, 
Harry? Cause you hate Tom Gordon, does you want to 
act just like him ? " 

"No!" said Harry, "I won t be like him, but I ll 
have my revenge ! Old Dred has been talking to me again, 
this morning. He always did stir me up so that I could 
hardly live; and I won t stand it any longer! " 

252 DEED 

"Chile," said Milly, "you take care! Keep clear on 
him! He s in de wilderness of Sinai; he is with de 
blackness and darkness and tempest. He hain t come to 
de heavenly Jerusalem. Oh! Oh! honey! dere s a blood 
of sprinkling dat speaketh better things dan dat of Abel. 
Jerusalem above is free is free, honey; so, don t you 
mind, now, what happens in dis yer time." 

" Ah, ah, Aunt Milly ! this may do well enough for old 
women like you; but stand opposite to a young fellow 
like me, with good strong arms, and a pair of doubled fists, 
and a body and soul just as full of fight as they can be; 
it don t answer to go to telling about a heavenly Jerusa 
lem! We want something here. We ll have it, too! 
How do you know there is any heaven, anyhow 1 " 

"Know it?" said Milly, her eye kindling, and striking 
her staff on the ground. "Know it? I knows it by de 
hankering arter it I got in here," giving her broad chest 
a blow which made it resound like a barrel. "De Lord 
knowed what he was bout when he made us. When he 
made babies rooting round, with der poor little mouths 
open, he made milk and de mammies for em too. Chile, 
we s nothing but great babies, dat ain t got our eyes 
opened rooting round and round; but de Father 11 feed 
us yet he will so. " 

"He s a long time about it," said Harry sullenly. 

"Well, chile, ain t it a long time fore your corn sprouts 
a long time fore it gets into de ears 1 but you plants 
for all dat. What s dat to me what I is here? ShaVt 
I reign with de Lord Jesus ? " 

"I don t know," said Harry. 

"Well, honey, / does ! Jest so sure as I s standing on 
dis yer ground, I knows in a few years I shall be reigning 
with de Lord Jesus, and a- casting my crown at his feet. 
Dat s what I knows. Flesh and blood did n t reveal it 
unto me, but de Spirit of de Father. It s no odds to me 

DEED 253 

what I does here; every road leads straight to glory, and 
de glory ain t got no end to it! " And Milly uplifted her 
voice in a favorite stave : 

" When we ve been dere ten thousand years, 

Bright shining like de sun, 
We ve no less days to sing God s praise 
Than when we first begun. 

"Chile," said she to him solemnly, "I ain t a fool. 
Does ye s pose dat I thinks folks has any business to be 
sitting on der cheers all der life long, and working me, and 
living on my money? Why, I knows dey hain t! Ain t 
it all wrong, from fust to last, de way dey makes merchan 
dise o us! Why, I knows it is; but I s still about it, 
for de Lord s sake. I don t work for Miss Loo; I works 
for de Lord Jesus ; and he is good pay no mistake, now 
I tell you." 

"Well," said Harry, a little shaken, but not convinced, 
"after all, there isn t much use in trying to do any other 
way. But you re lucky in feeling so, Aunt Milly; but I 
can t." 

"Well, chile, anyway, don t you do nothing rash and 
don t you hear him. Dat ar way out is through seas of 
blood. Why, chile, would you turn against Miss Nina? 
Chile, if they get a-going, they won t spare nobody. 
Don t you start up dat ar tiger; cause, I tell ye, ye can t 
chain him, if ye do ! " 

"Yes," said Harry, "I see it s all madness, perfect 
madness; there s no use thinking, no use talking. Well, 
good-morning, Aunt Milly. Peace go with you ! " And 
the young man started his horse, and was soon out of 



WE owe our readers now some words of explanation 
respecting the new personage who has been introduced 
into our history; therefore we must go back somewhat, 
and allude to certain historical events of painful signifi 

It has been a problem to many, how the system of sla 
very in America should unite the two apparent inconsisten 
cies of a code of slave-laws more severe than that of any 
other civilized nation with an average practice at least as 
indulgent as any other; for bad as slavery is at the best, 
it may yet be admitted that the practice, as a whole, has 
been less cruel in this country than in many. An exami 
nation into history will show us that the cruelty of the 
laws resulted from the effects of indulgent practice. Dur 
ing the first years of importation of slaves into South Caro 
lina, they enjoyed many privileges. Those who lived in 
intelligent families, and had any desire to learn, were in 
structed in reading and writing. Liberty was given them 
to meet in assemblies of worship, in class-meetings, and 
otherwise, without the presence of white witnesses; and 
many were raised to situations of trust and consequence. 
The result of this was the development of a good degree 
of intelligence and manliness among the slaves. There 
arose among them grave, thoughtful, energetic men, with 
their ears and eyes open, and their minds constantly awake 
to compare and reason. 

When minds come into this state, in a government pro- 


fessing to be founded on principles of universal equality, 
it follows that almost every public speech, document, or 
newspaper becomes an incendiary publication. 

Of this fact the southern slave states have ever exhibited 
the most singular unconsciousness. Documents containing 
sentiments most dangerous for slaves to hear have been 
publicly read and applauded among them. The slave has 
heard, amid shouts, on the Fourth of July, that his mas 
ters held the truth to be self-evident that all men were 
born equal, and had an inalienable right to life, liberty, 
and the pursuit of happiness; and that all governments 
derive their just power from the consent of the governed. 
Even the mottoes of newspapers have embodied sentiments 
of the most insurrectionary character. 

Such inscriptions as "Resistance to tyrants is obedience 
to God " stand, to this day, in large letters, at the head of 
southern newspapers; while speeches of senators and pub 
lic men, in which the principles of universal democracy are 
asserted, are constant matters of discussion. Under such 
circumstances, it is difficult to induce the servant, who 
feels that he is a man, to draw those lines which seem so 
obvious to masters, by whom this fact has been forgotten. 
Accordingly we find that when the discussions for the 
admission of Missouri as a slave state produced a wave 
whose waters undulated in every part of the Union, there 
were found among the slaves men of unusual thought and 
vigor, who were no inattentive witnesses and listeners. 
The discussions were printed in the newspapers; and what 
was printed in the newspapers was further discussed at the 
post-office door, in the tavern, in the bar-room, at the 
dinner-party, where black servants were listening behind 
the chairs. A free colored man in the city of Charleston, 
named Denmark Vesey, was the one who had the hardi 
hood to seek to use the electric fluid in the cloud thus 
accumulated. He conceived the hopeless project of imitat- 

256 DRED 

ing the example set by the American race, and achieving 
independence for the blacks. 

Our knowledge of this man is derived entirely from the 
printed reports of the magistrates who gave an account of 
the insurrection of which he was the instigator, and who 
will not, of course, be supposed to be unduly prejudiced 
in his favor. They state that he was first brought to the 
country by one Captain Vesey, a young lad, distinguished 
for personal beauty and great intelligence, and that he 
proved, for twenty years, a most faithful slave; but on 
drawing a prize of fifteen hundred dollars in the lottery, 
he purchased his freedom of his master, and worked as a 
carpenter in the city of Charleston. He was distinguished 
for strength and activity, and, as the accounts state, main 
tained such an irreproachable character, and enjoyed so 
much the confidence of the whites, that when he was ac 
cused, the charge was not only discredited, but he was not 
even arrested for several days after, and not till the proof 
of his guilt had become too strong to be doubted. His 
historians go on, with considerable naivete, to remark : 

"It is difficult to conceive what motive he had to enter 
into such a plot, unless it was the one mentioned by one 
of the witnesses, who said that Vesey had several children 
who were slaves, and that he said, on one occasion, he 
wished he could see them free, as he himself artfully re 
marked in his defense on his trial." 

It appears that the project of rousing and animating the 
blacks to this enterprise occupied the mind of Vesey for 
more than four years, during which time he was contin 
ually taking opportunities to animate and inspire the spirits 
of his countrymen. The account states that the speeches 
in Congress of those opposed to the admission of Missouri 
into the Union, perhaps garbled and misrepresented, fur 
nished him with ample means for inflaming the minds of 
the colored population. 


"Even while walking in the street," the account goes 
on to say, "he was not idle; for if his companion bowed 
to a white person, as slaves universally do, he would 
rebuke him, and observe, * that all men were born equal, 
and that he was surprised that any one would degrade 
himself by such conduct; that he would never cringe to 
the whites nor ought any one to who had the feelings of 
a man. 1 When answered, We are slaves, he would 
say sarcastically and indignantly, You deserve to remain 
slaves ! And if he were further asked, What can we 
do ? he would remark, Go and buy a spelling-book, and 
read the fable of "Hercules and the Wagoner." He also 
sought every opportunity of entering into conversation with 
white persons, during which conversation he would artfully 
introduce some bold remark on slavery; and sometimes, 
when, from the character he was conversing with, he found 
he might be still bolder, he would go so far that, had not 
his declarations been clearly proved, they would scarcely 
have been credited." 

But his great instrument of influence was a book that 
has always been prolific of insurrectionary movements, 
under all systems of despotism. 

"He rendered himself perfectly familiar with all those 
parts of Scripture which he thought he could pervert to 
his purpose, and would readily quote them to prove that 
slavery was contrary to the laws of God, and that slaves 
were bound to attempt their emancipation, however shock 
ing and bloody might be the consequences; that such 
efforts would not only be pleasing to the Almighty, but 
were absolutely enjoined." 

Vesey, in the course of time, associated with himself 
five slave men of marked character Rolla, Ned, Peter, 
Monday, and Gullah Jack. Of these, the account goes on 
to say : 

1 These extracts are taken from the official report. 
VOL. I. 

258 DEED 

"In the selection of his leaders, Vesey showed great 
penetration and sound judgment. Kolla was plausible, 
and possessed uncommon self-possession; hold and ardent, 
he was not to he deterred from his purpose hy danger. 
Ned s appearance indicated that he was a man of firm 
nerves and desperate courage. Peter was intrepid and 
resolute, true to his engagements, and cautious in observ 
ing secrecy where it was necessary; he was not to be 
daunted nor impeded by difficulties, and though confident 
of success, was careful in providing against any obstacles 
or casualties which might arise, and intent upon discover 
ing every means which might be in their power, if thought 
of beforehand. Gullah Jack was regarded as a sorcerer, 
and, as such, feared by the natives of Africa, who believed 
in witchcraft. He was not only considered invulnerable, 
but that he could make others so by his charms, and that 
he could, and certainly would, provide all his followers 
with arms. He was artful, cruel, bloody ; his disposition, 
in short, was diabolical. His influence among the Africans 
was inconceivable. Monday was firm, resolute, discreet, 
and intelligent. 

"It is a melancholy truth that the general good conduct 
of all the leaders, except Gullah Jack, was such as ren 
dered them objects least liable to suspicion. Their con 
duct had secured them, not only the unlimited confidence 
of their owners, but they had been indulged in every com 
fort, and allowed every privilege compatible with their 
situation in the community; and though Gullah Jack was 
not remarkable for the correctness of his deportment, he 
by no means sustained a bad character. But," adds the 
report, "not only were the leaders of good character, and 
very much indulged by their owners, but this was very 
generally the case with all who were convicted, many of 
them possessing the highest confidence of their owners, 
and not one a bad character. 


"The conduct and behavior of Vesey and his five leaders 
during their trial and imprisonment may be interesting to 
many. When Vesey was tried, he folded his arms, and 
seemed to pay great attention to the testimony given 
against him, but with his eyes fixed on the floor. In this 
situation he remained immovable until the witnesses had 
been examined by the court, and cross-examined by his 
counsel, when he requested to be allowed to examine the 
witnesses himself, which he did. The evidence being 
closed, he addressed the court at considerable length. 
When he received his sentence, tears trickled down his 

"Rolla, when arraigned, affected not to understand the 
charge against him, and when, at his request, it was ex 
plained to him, assumed, with wonderful adroitness, aston 
ishment and surprise. He was remarkable throughout his 
trial for composure and great presence of mind. When 
he was informed that he was convicted, and was advised 
to prepare for death, he appeared perfectly confounded, 
but exhibited no signs of fear. 

"In Ned s behavior there was nothing remarkable. His 
countenance was stern and immovable, even while he was 
receiving sentence of death. From his looks it was impos 
sible to discover or conjecture what were his feelings. 
Not so with Peter Poyes. In his countenance were 
strongly marked disappointed ambition, revenge, indigna 
tion, and an anxiety to know how far the discoveries had 
extended. He did not appear to fear personal conse 
quences, for his whole behavior indicated the reverse, but 
exhibited an evident anxiety for the success of their plan, 
in which his whole soul was embarked. His countenance 
and behavior were the same when he received his sentence, 
and his only words were, on retiring, I suppose you 11 
let me see my wife and family before I die, and that in 
no supplicating tone. When he was asked, a day or two 


after, If it was possible that he could see his master and 
family murdered, who had treated him so kindly ? he 
replied to the question only by a smile. In their prison, 
the convicts resolutely refused to make any confessions or 
communications which might implicate others; and Peter 
Poyes sternly enjoined it upon them to maintain this 
silence, Do not open your lips; die silent, as you will 
see me do ! and in this resolute silence they met their 
fate. Twenty-two of the conspirators were executed upon 
one gallows." 

The account says that "Peter Poyes was one of the 
most active of the recruiting agents. All the principal 
conspirators kept a list of those who had consented to join 
them, and Peter was said, by one of the witnesses, to have 
had six hundred names on his list; but so resolutely to 
the last did he observe his pledge of secrecy to his associ 
ates, that, of the whole number arrested and tried, not one 
of them belonged to his company. In fact, in an insurrec 
tion in which thousands of persons were supposed to have 
been implicated, only thirty-six were convicted." 

Among the children of Denmark Vesey was a boy by 
a Mandingo slave woman, who was his father s particular 
favorite. The Mandingos are one of the finest of African 
tribes, distinguished for intelligence, beauty of form, and 
an indomitable pride and energy of nature. As slaves, 
they are considered particularly valuable by those who 
have tact enough to govern them, because of their great 
capability and their proud faithfulness; but they resent a 
government of brute force, and under such are always frac 
tious and dangerous. 

This boy received from his mother the name of Dred; 
a name not unusual among the slaves, and generally given 
to those of great physical force. 

The development of this child s mind was so uncommon 
as to excite astonishment among the negroes. He early 


acquired the power of reading, by an apparent instinctive 
faculty, and would often astonish those around him with 
things which he had discovered in books. Like other 
children of a deep and fervent nature, he developed great 
religious ardor, and often surprised the older negroes by 
his questions and replies on this subject. A son so en 
dowed could not but be an object of great pride and inter 
est to a father like Denmark Vesey. The impression 
seemed to prevail universally among the negroes that this 
child was born for extraordinary things; and perhaps it 
was the yearning to acquire liberty for the development 
of such a mind which first led Denmark Vesey to reflect on 
the nature of slavery, and the terrible weights which it 
lays on the human intellect, and to conceive the project of 
liberating a race. 

The Bible, of which Vesey was an incessant reader, 
stimulated this desire. He likened his own position of 
comparative education, competence, and general esteem 
among the whites to that of Moses among the Egyptians; 
and nourished the idea that, like Moses, he was sent as 
a deliverer. During the process of the conspiracy, this 
son, though but ten years of age, was his father s confi 
dant; and he often charged him, though he should fail in 
the attempt, never to be discouraged. He impressed it 
upon his mind that he should never submit tamely to the 
yoke of slavery; and nourished the idea already impressed, 
that some more than ordinary destiny was reserved for 
him. After the discovery of the plot, and the execution 
of its leaders, those more immediately connected with them 
were sold from the state, even though not proved to have 
participated. With the most guarded caution, Vesey had 
exempted this son from suspicion. It had been an agreed 
policy with them both, that in the presence of others they 
should counterfeit alienation and dislike. Their confiden 
tial meetings with each other had been stolen and secret. 

262 DRED 

At the time of his father s execution, Dred was a lad of 
fourteen. He could not be admitted to his father s prison, 
but he was a witness of the undaunted aspect with which 
he and the other conspirators met their doom. The mem 
ory dropped into the depths of his soul, as a stone drops 
into the desolate depths of a dark mountain lake. 

Sold to a distant plantation, he became noted for his 
desperate, unsubduable disposition. He joined in none of 
the social recreations and amusements of the slaves, labored 
with proud and silent assiduity, but on the slightest 
rebuke or threat, flashed up with a savage fierceness which, 
supported by his immense bodily strength, made him an 
object of dread among overseers. He was one of those 
of whom they gladly rid themselves, and like a fractious 
horse, was sold from master to master. Finally, an over 
seer, hardier than the rest, determined on the task of sub 
duing him. In the scuffle that ensued Dred struck him 
to the earth, a dead man, made his escape to the swamps, 
and was never afterwards heard of in civilized life. 

The reader who consults the map will discover that the 
whole eastern shore of the southern states, with slight 
interruptions, is belted by an immense chain of swamps, 
regions of hopeless disorder, where the abundant growth 
and vegetation of nature, sucking up its forces from the 
humid soil, seem to rejoice in a savage exuberance, and 
bid defiance to all human efforts either to penetrate or 
subdue. These wild regions are the homes of the alliga 
tor, the moccasin, and the rattlesnake. Evergreen trees, 
mingling freely with the deciduous children of the forest, 
form here dense jungles, verdant all the year round, and 
which afford shelter to numberless birds, with whose war 
bling the leafy desolation perpetually resounds. Climbing 
vines and parasitic plants, of untold splendor and bound 
less exuberance of growth, twine and interlace, and hang 
from the heights of the highest trees pennons of gold and 


purple, triumphal banners, which attest the solitary 
majesty of nature. A species of parasitic moss wreathes its 
abundant draperies from tree to tree, and hangs in pearly 
festoons through which shine the scarlet berry and green 
leaves of the American holly. 

What the mountains of Switzerland were to the perse 
cuted Vaudois, this swampy belt has been to the American 
slave. The constant effort to recover from thence fugitives 
has led to the adoption, in these states, of a separate pro 
fession, unknown at this time in any other Christian land 
hunters, who train and keep dogs for the hunting of 
men, women, and children. And yet, with all the con 
venience of this profession, the reclaiming of the fugitives 
from these fastnesses of nature has been a work of such 
expense and difficulty that the near proximity of the 
swamp has always been a considerable check on the other 
wise absolute power of the overseer. Dred carried with 
him to the swamp but one solitary companion the Bible 
of his father. To him it was not the messenger of peace 
and good will, but the herald of woe and wrath ! 

As the mind, looking on the great volume of nature, 
sees there a reflection of its own internal passions, and 
seizes on that in it which sympathizes with itself, as the 
fierce and savage soul delights in the roar of torrents, the 
thunder of avalanches, and the whirl of ocean storms, 
so is it in the great answering volume of revelation. There 
is something there for every phase of man s nature; and 
hence its endless vitality and stimulating force. Dred had 
heard read in the secret meetings of conspirators the wrath 
ful denunciations of ancient prophets against oppression 
and injustice. He had read of kingdoms convulsed by 
plagues; of tempest, and pestilence, and locusts; of the 
sea cleft in twain, that an army of slaves might pass 
through and of their pursuers whelmed in the returning 
waters. He had heard of prophets and deliverers, armed 

264 DEED 

with supernatural powers, raised up for oppressed people; 
had pondered on the nail of Jael, the goad of Shamgar, the 
pitcher and lamp of Gideon; and thrilled with fierce joy 
as he read how Samson, with his two strong arms, pulled 
down the pillars of the festive temple, and whelmed his 
triumphant persecutors in one grave with himself. 

In the vast solitudes which he daily traversed, these 
things entered deep into his soul. Cut off from all human 
companionship, often going weeks without seeing a human 
face, there was no recurrence of every-day and prosaic ideas 
to check the current of the enthusiasm thus kindled. 
Even in the soil of the cool Saxon heart the Bible has 
thrown out its roots with an all-pervading energy, so that 
the whole framework of society may be said to rest on 
soil held together by its fibres. Even in cold and misty 
England, armies have been made defiant and invincible 
by the incomparable force and deliberate valor which it 
breathes into men. But when this Oriental seed, an ex 
otic among us, is planted back in the fiery soil of a tropical 
heart, it bursts forth with an incalculable ardor of growth. 

A stranger cannot fail to remark the fact that, though 
the slaves of the South are unable to read the Bible for 
themselves, yet most completely have its language and sen 
timent penetrated among them, giving a Hebraistic color 
ing to their habitual mode of expression. How much 
greater, then, must have been the force of the solitary 
perusal of this volume on so impassioned a nature ! a 
nature, too, kindled by memories of the self-sacrificing 
ardor with which a father and his associates had met death 
at the call of freedom ; for none of us may deny that, 
wild and hopeless as this scheme was, it was still the same 
in kind with the more successful one which purchased for 
our fathers a national existence. 

A mind of the most passionate energy and vehemence, 
thus awakened, for years made the wild solitudes of the 


swamp its home. That book, so full of startling symbols 
and vague images, had for him no interpreter but the silent 
courses of nature. His life passed in a kind of dream. 
Sometimes, traversing for weeks these desolate regions, he 
would compare himself to Elijah traversing for forty days 
and nights the solitudes of Horeb; or to John the Baptist 
in the wilderness, girding himself with camel s hair, and 
eating locusts and wild honey. Sometimes he would fast 
and pray for days; and then voices would seem to speak 
to him, and strange hieroglyphics would be written upon 
the leaves. In less elevated moods of mind, he would 
pursue, with great judgment and vigor, those enterprises 
necessary to preserve existence. The negroes lying out in 
the swamps are not so wholly cut off from society as might 
at first be imagined. The slaves of all the adjoining plan 
tations, whatever they may pretend, to secure the good 
will of their owners, are at heart secretly disposed, from 
motives both of compassion and policy, to favor the fugi 
tives. They very readily perceive that, in the event of 
any difficulty occurring to themselves, it might be quite 
necessary to have a friend and protector in the swamp; 
and therefore they do not hesitate to supply these fugitives, 
so far as they are able, with anything which they may 
desire. The poor whites, also, who keep small shops in 
the neighborhood of plantations, are never particularly 
scrupulous, provided they can turn a penny to their own 
advantage, and willingly supply necessary wares in ex 
change for game, with which the swamp abounds. 

Dred, therefore, came in possession of an excellent rifle, 
and never wanted for ammunition, which supplied him 
with an abundance of food. Besides this, there are here 
and there elevated spots in the swampy land, which, by 
judicious culture, are capable of great productiveness. 
And many such spots Dred had brought under cultivation, 
either with his own hands, or from those of other fugitives, 

266 DEED 

whom he had received and protected. From the restless 
ness of his nature, he had not confined himself to any par 
ticular region, but had traversed the whole swampy belt of 
both the Carolinas, as well as that of Southern Virginia; 
residing a few months in one place, and a few months in 
another. Wherever he stopped, he formed a sort of re 
treat, where he received and harbored fugitives. On one 
occasion, he rescued a trembling and bleeding mulatto 
woman from the dogs of the hunters, who had pursued 
her into the swamp. This woman he made his wife, and 
appeared to entertain a very deep affection for her. He 
made a retreat for her, with more than common ingenuity, 
in the swamp adjoining the Gordon plantation; and after 
that, he was more especially known in that locality. He 
had fixed his eye upon Harry, as a person whose ability, 
address, and strength of character might make him at 
some day a leader in a conspiracy against the whites. 
Harry, in common with many of the slaves on the Gordon 
plantation, knew perfectly well of the presence of Dred in 
the neighborhood, and had often seen and conversed with 
him. But neither he nor any of the rest of them ever 
betrayed before any white person the slightest knowledge 
of the fact. 

This ability of profound secrecy is one of the invariable 
attendants of a life of slavery. Harry was acute enough 
to know that his position was by no means so secure that 
he could afford to dispense with anything which might 
prove an assistance in some future emergency. The low 
white traders in the neighborhood also knew Dred well; 
but as long as they could drive an advantageous trade 
with him he was secure from their intervention. So 
secure had he been, that he had been even known to 
mingle in the motley throng of a camp-meeting unmolested. 
Thus much with regard to one who is to appear often on 
the stage before our history is done. 



IN the course of a few days the family circle at Canema 
was enlarged by the arrival of Clayton s sister; and Car 
son, in excellent spirits, had started for a northern water 
ing-place. In answer to Nina s letter of invitation, Anne 
had come with her father, who was called to that vicinity 
by the duties of his profession. Nina received her with 
her usual gay frankness of manner; and Anne, like many 
others, soon found herself liking her future sister much 
better than she had expected. Perhaps, had Nina been in 
any other situation than that of hostess, her pride might 
have led her to decline making the agreeable to Anne, 
whom, notwithstanding, she very much wished to please. 
But she was mistress of the mansion, and had an Arab s 
idea of the privileges of a guest ; and so she chatted, sang, 
and played for her; she took her about, showed her the 
walks, the arbors, the flower-garden; waited on her in her 
own apartment, with a thousand little attentions, all the 
more fascinating from the kind of careless independence 
with which they were rendered. Besides, Nina had vowed 
a wicked little vow in her heart that she would ride rough 
shod over Anne s dignity; that she wouldn t let her be 
grave or sensible, but that she should laugh and frolic 
with her. And Clayton could scarce help smiling at the 
success that soon crowned her exertions. Nina s gayety, 
when in full tide, had a breezy infectiousness in it, that 
seemed to stir up every one about her and carry them on 
the tide of her own spirits; and Anne, in her company, 

268 DEED 

soon found herself laughing at everything and nothing, 
simply because she felt gay. 

To crown all, Uncle John Gordon arrived, with his 
cheery, jovial face; and he was one of those fearless, hit- 
or-miss talkers, that are invaluable in social dilemmas, 
because they keep something or other all the while in 

With him came Madam Gordon, or, as Nina commonly 
called her, Aunt Maria. She was a portly, finely formed, 
middle-aged woman, who might have been handsome, had 
not the lines of care and nervous anxiety ploughed them 
selves so deeply in her face. Her bright, keen, hazel eyes, 
fine teeth, and the breadth of her ample form attested the 
vitality of the old Virginia stock from whence she sprung. 

"There," said Nina to Anne Clayton, as they sat in 
the shady side of the veranda, "I ve marshaled Aunt 
Maria up into Aunt Nesbit s room, and there they will 
have a comfortable dish of lamentation over me." 

" Over you ? " said Anne. 

"Yes over me, to be sure! that s the usual order 
of exercises. Such a setting down as I shall get! They 11 
count up on their fingers all the things I ought to know 
and don t, and ought to do and can t. I believe that s 
the way relatives always show their affection aunts in 
particular by mourning over you. " 

" And what sort of a list will they make out 1 " said 

"Oh, bless me, that s easy enough. Why, there s 
Aunt Maria is a perfectly virulent housekeeper really 
insane, I believe, on that subject. Why, she chases up 
every rat and mouse and cockroach, every particle of dust, 
every scrap of litter. She divides her hours, and is as 
punctual as a clock. She rules her household with a rod 
of iron, and makes everybody stand round; and tells each 
one how many times a day one may wink. She keeps 


accounts like a very dragon, and always is sure to pounce 
on anybody that is in the least out of the way. She cuts 
out clothes by the bale; she sews, and she knits, and she 
jingles keys. And all this kind of bustle she calls house 
keeping ! Now, what do you suppose she must think of 
me, who just put on my hat in the morning, and go sail 
ing down the walks, looking at the flowers, till Aunt Katy 
calls me back, to know what my orders are for the day 1 " 

"Pray, who is Aunt Katy? " said Anne. 

"Oh, she is my female prime minister; and she is very 
much like some prime ministers I have studied about in 
history, who always contrive to have their own way, let 
what will come. Now, when Aunt Katy comes and wants 
to know, so respectfully, What Miss Nina is going to 
have for dinner, do you suppose she has the least expecta 
tion of getting anything that I order? She always has 
fifty objections to anything that I propose. For sometimes 
the fit comes over me to try to be housekeepy, like Aunt 
Maria; but it s no go, I can tell you. So, when she has 
proved that everything that I propose is the height of 
absurdity, and shown conclusively that there s nothing fit 
to be eaten in the neighborhood, by that time I am reduced 
to a proper state of mind. And when I humbly say, 
* Aunt Katy, what shall we do ? then she gives a little 
cough, and out comes the whole programme, just as she 
had arranged it the night before. And so it goes. As to 
accounts, why Harry has to look after them. I detest 
everything about money, except the spending of it I 
have rather a talent for that. Now, just think how 
awfully all this must impress poor Aunt Maria! What 
sighings, and rollings up of eyes, and shakings of heads, 
there are over me! And then, Aunt Nesbit is always 
dinging at me about improving my mind ! And improving 
my mind means reading some horrid, stupid, boring old 
book, just as she does ! Now, I like the idea of improv- 

270 DEED 

ing my mind. I am sure it wants improving, bad enough; 
but then, I can t help thinking that racing through the 
garden, and cantering through the woods, improves it faster 
than getting asleep over books. It seems to me that books 
are just like dry hay very good when there isn t any 
fresh grass to be had. But I d rather be out and eat 
what s growing. Now, what people call nature never 
bores me; but almost every book I ever saw does. Don t 
you think people are made differently 1 Some like books, 
and some like things; don t you think so? " 

" I can give you a good fact on your side of the argu 
ment, " said Clayton, who had come up behind them during 
the conversation. 

"I didn t know I was arguing; but I shall be glad to 
have anything on my side," said Nina, "of course." 

"Well, then," said Clayton, "I ll say that the books 
that have influenced the world the longest, the widest, and 
deepest have been written by men who attended to things 
more than to books; who, as you say, eat what was grow 
ing, instead of dry hay. Homer couldn t have had much 
to read in his time, nor the poets of the Bible; and they 
have been fountains for all ages. I don t believe Shake 
speare was much of a reader." 

"Well, but," said Anne, "don t you think that, for us 
common folks, who are not going to be either Homers or 
Shakespeares, that it s best to have two strings to our bow, 
and to gain instruction both from books and things 1 " 

"To be sure," said Clayton, "if we only use books 
aright. With many people, reading is only a form of 
mental indolence, by which they escape the labor of think 
ing for themselves. Some persons are like Pharaoh s lean 
kine ; they swallow book upon book, but remain as lean as 

"My grandfather used to say," said Anne, "that the 
Bible and Shakespeare were enough for a woman s library." 


"Well," said Nina, "I don t like Shakespeare, there! 
I m coming out flat with it. In the first place, I don t 
understand half he says; and then, they talk about his 
being so very natural! I m sure I never heard people talk 
as he makes them. Now, did you ever hear people talk 
in blank verse, with every now and then one or two lines 
of rhyme, as his characters do when they go off in long 
speeches 1 Now, did you 1 " 

"As to that," said Clayton, "it s about half and half. 
His conversations have just about the same resemblance to 
real life that acting at the opera has. It is not natural for 
Norma to burst into a song when she discovers the treach 
ery of her husband. You make that concession to the 
nature of the opera, in the first place; and then, with that 
reserve, all the rest strikes you as natural, and the music 
gives an added charm to it. So in Shakespeare, you con 
cede that the plays are to be poems, and that the people 
are to talk in rhythm, and with all the exaltation of poetic 
sentiment; and that being admitted, their conversations 
may seem natural." 

"But I can t understand a great deal that Shakespeare 
says," said Nina. 

"Because so many words and usages are altered since he 
wrote," said Clayton. "Because there are so many allu 
sions to incidents that have passed, and customs that have 
perished, that you have, as it were, to acquire his language 
before you can understand him. Suppose a poem were 
written in a foreign tongue; you couldn t say whether you 
liked it or disliked it till you could read the language. 
Now, my opinion is, that there is a liking for Shakespeare 
hidden in your nature, like a seed that has not sprouted." 

" What makes you think so 1 " 

"Oh, I see it in you, just as a sculptor sees a statue in 
a block of marble. " 

" And are you going to chisel it out 1 " said Nina. 

272 DEED 

"With your leave," said Clayton. "After all, I like 
your sincerity in saying what you do think. I have often 
heard ladies profess an admiration for Shakespeare that I 
knew could n t be real. I knew that they had neither the 
experience of life nor the insight into human nature 
really to appreciate what is in him; and that their liking 
for him was all a worked-up affair, because they felt it 
would be very shocking not to like him." 

"Well," said Nina, "I m much obliged to you for all 
the sense you find in my nonsense. I believe I shall keep 
you to translate my fooleries into good English." 

"You know I m quite at your disposal," said Clayton, 
"for that or anything else." 

At this moment the attention of Nina was attracted by 
loud exclamations from that side of the house where the 
negro cottages were situated. 

"Get along off! don t want none o yo old trash here! 
No, no, Miss Nina don t want none o yo old fish! She s 
got plenty of niggers to ketch her own fish." 

"Somebody taking my name in vain in those regions," 
said Nina, running to the other end of the veranda. 
"Tomtit," she said to that young worthy, who lay flat on 
his back, kicking up his heels in the sun, waiting for his 
knives to clean themselves, "pray tell me what s going on 
there ! " 

"Laws, missis," said Tom, "it s just one of dese yer 
poor white trash, coming round here trying to sell one 
thing o nother. Miss Loo says it won t do courage em, 
and I s de same pinion." 

"Send him round here to me," said Nina, who, partly 
from humanity, and partly from a spirit of contradiction, 
had determined to take up for the poor white folks, on all 
occasions. Tomtit ran accordingly, and soon brought to 
the veranda a man whose wretchedly tattered clothing 
scarcely formed a decent covering. His cheeks were 


sunken and hollow, and he stood before Nina with a cring 
ing, half-ashamed attitude; and yet one might see that, 
with better dress and better keeping, he might be made to 
assume the appearance of a handsome, intelligent man. 
" What do you ask for your fish ? " she said to him. 

"Anything ye pleases! " 

" Where do you live 1 " said Nina, drawing out her 

"My folks s staying on Mr. Gordon s place." 

"Why don t you get a place of your own to stay on?" 
said Nina. 

There was an impatient glance flashed from the man s 
eye, but it gave place immediately to his habitual cowed 
expression, as he said, 

"Can t get work can t get money can t get no 

"Dear me," said her Uncle John, who had been stand 
ing for a moment listening to the conversation. "This 
must be husband of that poor hobgoblin that has lighted 
down on my place lately. Well, you may as well pay him 
a good price for his fish. Keep them from starving one 
day longer, maybe." And Nina paid the man a liberal 
sum and dismissed him. 

"I suppose, now, all my eloquence wouldn t make Rose 
cook those fish for dinner," said Nina. 

" Why not, if you told her to 1 " said Aunt Maria, who 
had also descended to the veranda. 

" Why not 1 Just because, as she would say, she 
had n t laid out to do it." 

"That s not the way my servants are taught to do!" 
said Aunt Maria. 

"I 11 warrant not," said Nina. "But yours and mine 
are quite different affairs, aunt. They all do as they have 
a mind to, in my diggings. All I stipulated for is a little 
of the same privilege." 

VOL. I. 

274 DEED 

"That man s wife and children have come and squatted 
down on my place," said Mr. Gordon, laughing; "and so, 
Nin, all you paid for his fish is just so much saving to 

"Yes, to be sure! Mr. Gordon is just one of those 
men that will have a tribe of shiftless hangers-on at his 
heels ! " said Mrs. Gordon. 

"Well, bless my soul! what s a fellow to do? Can t 
see the poor heathen starve, can we 1 ? If society could 
only be organized over, now, there would be hope for 
them. The brain ought to control the hands; but among 
us the hands try to set up for themselves ; and see what 
comes of it ! " 

"Who do you mean by brain? " said Nina. 

" Who 1 Why, we upper crust, to be sure ! We edu 
cated people ! We ought to have an absolute sway over 
the working classes, just as the brain rules the hand. It 
must come to that, at last no other arrangement is possi 
ble. The white working classes can t take care of them 
selves, and must be put into a condition for us to take care 
of them. What is liberty to them? Only a name 
liberty to be hungry and naked, that s all. It J s the 
strangest thing in the world, how people stick to names! 
I suppose that fellow, up there, would flare up terribly at 
being put in with my niggers; and yet he and his children 
are glad of the crumbs that fall from their table! It s 
astonishing to me how, with such examples before them, 
any decent man can be so stone-blind as to run atilt 
against slavery. Just compare the free working classes 
with our slaves! Dear me! the blindness of people in 
this world ! It s too much for my patience, particularly 
in hot weather ! " said Mr. John, wiping his face with a 
white pocket-handkerchief. 

"Well, but, Uncle John," said Nina, "my dear old 
gentleman, you haven t traveled, as I have." 


"No, child! I thank the Lord I never stepped my foot 
out of a slave state, and I never mean to," said Uncle 

"But you ought to see the northern working people," 
said Nina. "Why, the governors of the states are farmers, 
sometimes, and work with their own men. The brain and 
the hand go together, in each one not one great brain 
to fifty pair of hands. And, I tell you, work is done up 
there very differently from what s done here! Just look 
at our ploughs and our hoes ! the most ridiculous things 
that I ever saw. I should think one of them would weigh 
ten pouncjs ! " 

"Well, if you don t have em heavy enough to go into 
the ground by their own weight, these cussed lazy nigs 
won t do anything with them. They d break a dozen 
Yankee hoes in a forenoon," said Uncle John. 

"Now," said Nina, "Uncle John, you clear old heathen, 
you ! do let me tell you a little how it is there. I went 
up into New Hampshire, once, with Livy Kay, to spend 
a vacation. Livy s father is a farmer; works part of every 
day with his own men; hoes, digs, plants; but he is gov 
ernor of the state. He has a splendid farm all in first- 
rate order; and his sons, with two or three hired men, 
keep it in better condition than our places ever saw. Mr. 
Ray is a man who reads a great deal; has a fine library, 
and he s as much of a gentleman as you 11 often see. 
There are no high and low classes there. Everybody 
works; and everybody seems to have a good time. Livy s 
mother has a beautiful dairy, spring-house, and two strong 
women to help her; and everything in the house looks 
beautifully; and, for the greater part of the day, the house 
seems so neat and still, you would n t know anything had 
been done in it. Seems to me this is better than making 
slaves of all the working classes, or having any working 
classes at all." 

276 DEED 

" How wise young ladies always are ! " said Uncle John. 
"Undoubtedly the millennium is begun in New Hamp 
shire! But, pray, my dear, what part do young ladies 
take in all this ? Seems to me, Nin, you have n t picked 
up much of this improvement in person." 

"Oh, as to that, I labor in my vocation," said Nina; 
"that is, of enlightening dull, sleepy old gentlemen, who 
never traveled out of the state they were born in, and 
don t know what can be done. I come as a missionary to 
them; I m sure that s work enough for one." 

"Well," said Aunt Maria, "I know I am as great a 
slave as any of the poor whites, or negroes either. There 
is n t a soul in my whole troop that pretends to take any 
care, except me, either about themselves or their children, 
or anything else." 

"I hope that isn t a slant at me!" said Uncle John, 
shrugging his shoulders. 

"I must say you are as bad as any of them," said Aunt 

"There it goes! now, I m getting it!" said Uncle 
John. "I declare, the next time we get a preacher out 
here, I m going to make him hold forth on the duties of 
wives ! " 

" And husbands, too ! " said Aunt Maria. 

"Do," said Nina; "I should like a little prospective 
information. " 

Nina, as often, spoke before she thought. Uncle John 
gave a malicious look at Clayton. Nina could not recall 
the words. She colored deeply, and went on hastily to 
change the subject. 

"At any rate, I know that aunt, here, has a much 
harder time than housekeepers do in the free states. Just 
the shoes she wears out chasing up her negroes would hire 
help enough to do all her work. They used to have an 
idea up there, that all the southern ladies did was to lie 


on the sofa. I used to tell them it was as much as they 
knew about it." 

"Your cares don t seem to have worn you much!" said 
Uncle John. 

"Well, they will, Uncle John, if you don t behave 
better. It s enough to break anybody down to keep you 
in order." 

"I wish," said Uncle John, shrugging up his shoulders, 
and looking quizzically at Clayton, "somebody would take 
warning ! " 

"For my part," said Aunt Maria, "I know one thing: 
I d be glad to get rid of my negroes. Sometimes I think 
life is such a burden that I don t think it s worth hav 

"Oh no, you don t, mother!" said Uncle John; "not 
with such a charming husband as you ve got, who relieves 
you from all care so perfectly ! " 

"I declare," said Nina, looking along the avenue, 
"what s that? Why, if there isn t Old Tiff, coming along 
with his children ! " 

" Who is he 1 " said Aunt Maria. 

"Oh, he belongs to one of these miserable families," said 
Aunt Nesbit, "that have squatted in the pine woods some 
where about here a poor, worthless set! but Nina has 
a great idea of patronizing them. " 

" Clear Gordon, every inch of her ! " said Aunt Maria, 
as Nina ran down to meet Tiff. " Just like her uncle ! " 

"Come, now, old lady, I ll tell of you, if you don t 
take care!" said Mr. Gordon. "Didn t I find you put 
ting up a basket of provisions for those folks you scolded 
me so for taking in 1 " 

" Scold, Mr. Gordon ? I never scold ! " 

" I beg pardon that you reproved me for ! " 

Ladies generally are not displeased for being reproached 
for their charities; and Aunt Maria, whose bark, to use 

278 DEED 

a vulgar proverb, was infinitely worse than her bite, sat 
fanning herself, with an air of self-complacency. Mean 
while, Nina had run down the avenue, and was busy in a 
confidential communication with Tiff. On her return, she 
came skipping up the steps, apparently in high glee. 

"Oh, Uncle John! there s the greatest fun getting up! 
You must all go, certainly! What do you think? Tiff 
says there s to be a camp-meeting in the neighborhood, 
only about five miles off from his place. Let s make up 
a party, and all go ! " 

"That s the time of day ! " said Uncle John. "I enroll 
myself under your banner at once. I am open to improve 
ment ! Anybody wants to convert me, here I am ! " 

"The trouble with you, Uncle John," said Nina, "is 
that you don t stay converted. You are just like one of 
these heavy fishes you bite very sharp ; but before any 
body can get you fairly on to the bank, you are flapping 
and floundering back into the water, and down you go into 
your sins again. I know at least three ministers who 
thought they had hooked you out; but they were mis 

"For my part," said Aunt Maria, "I think these camp- 
meetings do more harm than good. They collect all the 
scum and the riff-raff of the community, and I believe 
there s more drinking done at camp-meetings in one week 
than is done in six anywhere else. Then, of course, all 
the hands will want to be off; and Mr. Gordon has brought 
them up so that they feel dreadfully abused if they are not 
in with everything that s going on. I shall set down my 
foot, this year, that they sha n t go any day except Sun 

"My wife knows that she was always celebrated for 
having the handsomest foot in the country, and so she is 
always setting it down at me!" said Mr. Gordon; "for 
she knows that a pretty foot is irresistible with me." 


"Mr. Gordon, how can you talk so? I should think 
that you d got old enough not to make such silly 
speeches ! " said Aunt Maria. 

"Silly speeches! It s a solemn fact, and you won t 
hear anything truer at the camp-meeting ! " said Uncle 
John. "But come, Clayton, will you go? My dear fel 
low, your grave face will be an appropriate ornament to 
the scene, I can assure you; and as to Miss Anne, it 
won t do for an old fellow like me, in this presence, to 
say what a happiness it would be." 

"I suspect," said Anne, "Edward is afraid he maybe 
called on for some of the services. People are always 
taking him for a clergyman, and asking him to say grace 
at meals, and to conduct family prayers, when he is travel 
ing among strangers." 

"It s a comment on our religion, that these should be 
thought peculiar offices of clergymen," said Clayton. 
"Every Christian man ought to be ready and willing to 
take them." 

"I honor that sentiment! " said Uncle John. "A man 
ought not to be ashamed of his religion anywhere, no more 
than a soldier of his colors. I believe there s more reli 
gion hid in the hearts of honest laymen, now, than is 
plastered up behind the white cravats of clergymen; and 
they ought to come out with it. Not that I have any 
disrespect for the clergy, either," said Uncle John. 
"Fine men a little stiffish, and don t call things by 
good English names. Always talking about dispensation, 
and sanctification, and edification, and so forth; but I like 
them. They are sincere. I suppose they wouldn t any 
of them give me a chance for heaven, because I rip out 
with an oath, every now and then. But the fact is, what 
with niggers and overseers and white trash, my chances 
of salvation are dreadfully limited. I can t help swearing, 
now and then, if I was to die for it. They say it s dread- 

280 DEED 

fully wicked; but I feel more Christian when I let out 
than when I keep in ! " 

"Mr. Gordon," said Aunt Maria reprovingly, "do con 
sider what you re saying! " 

"My dear, I am considering. I am considering all the 
time ! I never do anything else but consider except, as 
I said before, every now and then, when what- s-his-name 
gets the advantage over me. And, hark you, Mrs. G., 
let s have things ready at our house, if any of the clergy 
would like to spend a week or so with us; and we could 
get them up some meetings, or any little thing in their 
line. I always like to show respect for them." 

"Our beds are always prepared for company, Mr. Gor 
don," said Aunt Maria, with a stately air. 

"Oh yes, yes, I don t doubt that! I only meant some 
special preparation some little fatted-calf killing, and so 

"Now," said Nina, "shall we set off to-morrow morn 

"Agreed!" said Uncle John. 


THE announcement of the expected camp-meeting pro 
duced a vast sensation at Canema in other circles beside 
the hall. In the servants department, everybody was 
full of the matter, from Aunt Katy down to Tomtit. The 
women were thinking over their available finery; for these 
gatherings furnish the negroes with the same opportunity 
of display that Grace Church does to the Broadway belles. 
And so, before Old Tiff, who had brought the first intelli 
gence to the plantation, had time to depart, Tomtit had 
trumpeted the news through all the cluster of negro houses 
that skirted the right side of the mansion, proclaiming that 
"dere was gwine to be a camp-meeting, and tip-top work 
of grace, and Miss Nina was going to let all de niggers 
go." Old Tiff, therefore, found himself in a prominent 
position in a group of negro women, among whom Rose, 
the cook, was conspicuous. 

"Law, Tiff, ye gwine? and gwine to take your chil en? 
Ha! ha! ha!" said she. "Why, Miss Fanny, dey 11 tink 
Tiff s yer mammy ! Ho ! ho ! ho ! " 

" Yah ! yah ! Ho ! ho ! ho ! " roared in a chorus of 
laughter on all sides, doing honor to Aunt Rose s wit; 
and Tomtit, who hung upon the skirts of the crowd, threw 
up the fragment of a hat in the air, and kicked it in an 
abandon of joy, regardless of the neglected dinner-knives. 
Old Tiff, mindful of dignities, never failed to propitiate 
Rose, on his advents to the plantation, with the gift which 
the "wise man saith maketh friends;" and on the present 

282 DEED 

occasion he had enriched her own peculiar stock of domes 
tic fowl by the present of a pair of young partridge-chicks, 
a nest of which he had just captured, intending to bring 
them up by hand, as he did his children. By this discreet 
course Tiff stood high where it was of most vital conse 
quence that he should so stand; and many a choice morsel 
did Rose cook for him in secret, besides imparting to him 
most invaluable recipes on the culture and raising of suck 
ing babies. Old Hundred, like many other persons, felt 
that general attention lavished on any other celebrity was 
so much taken from his own merits, and, therefore, on the 
present occasion, sat regarding Tiff s evident popularity 
with a cynical eye. At last, coming up, like a wicked 
fellow as he was, he launched his javelin at Old Tiff, by 
observing to his wife, 

"I s stonished at you, Rose! You, cook to de Gor 
dons, and making youself so cheap so familiar with de 
poor white folks niggers ! " 

Had the slant fallen upon himself, personally, Old Tiff 
would probably have given a jolly crow, and laughed as 
heartily as he generally did if he happened to be caught 
out in a rainstorm; but the reflection on his family con 
nection fired him up like a torch, and his eyes flashed 
through his big spectacles like firelight through windows. 

"You go long, talking bout what you don know 
nothing bout! I like to know what you knows bout de 
old Yirginny fam lies? Dem s de real old stock! You 
Car lina folks come from dem, stick and stock, every blest 
one of you! De Gordons is a nice family, ain t nothing 
to say agin de Gordons, but whar was you raised, dat ye 
didn t hear bout de Peytons? Why, old Gen al Peyton, 
didn t he use to ride with six black horses afore him, as 
if he d been a king 1 ? Dere wa n t one of dem horses dat 
hadn t a tail as long as my arm. You never see no such 
critters in your life ! " 


" I hain t, hain t 1 1 " said Old Hundred, now, in his turn, 
touched in a vital point. "Bless me, if I hain t seen de 
Gordons riding out with der eight horses, any time o day ! " 

"Come, come, now, dere wasn t so many!" said Eose, 
who had her own reasons for staying on Tiff s side. 
"Nobody never rode with eight horses! " 

"Did too! You say much more, I ll make sixteen on 
em! Fore my blessed Master, how dese yer old niggers 
will lie! Dey s always zaggerating der families. Makes 
de very liar rise on my head, to hear dese yer old niggers 
talk, dey lie so ! " said Old Hundred. 

"You tink folks dat take to lying is using up your busi 
ness, don t ye?" said Tiff. "But, I tell you, any one 
dat says a word agin de Peytons got me to set in with ! " 

"Laws, dem chiFen ain t Peytons!" said Old Hundred; 
"dey s Crippses; and I like to know who ever hearn of de 
Crippses? Go way! don t tell me nothing about dem 
Crippses! Dey s poor white folks! A body may see dat 
sticking out all over em! " 

"You shut up!" said Tiff. "I don t b lieve you was 
born on de Gordon place, cause you ain t got no manners. 
I spects you some old, second-hand nigger, Colonel Gordon 
must a took for debt, some time, from some of dese yer 
mean Tennessee families, dat don know how to keep der 
money when dey gets it. Der niggers is allers de meanest 
kind. Cause all de real Gordon niggers is ladies and 
gen lemen every one of em! " said Old Tiff, like a true 
orator, bent on carrying his audience along with him. 

A general shout chorused this compliment; and Tiff, 
under cover of the applause, shook up his reins, and rode 
off in triumph. 

"Dar, now, you aggravating old nigger," said Eose, 
turning to her bosom lord, "I hope yer got it now! De 
plaguest old nigger dat ever I see! And you, Tom, go 
long and clean your knives, if yer don t mean to be 
cracked over ! " 

284 DEED 

Meanwhile Tiff, restored to his usual tranquillity, am 
bled along homeward behind his one-eyed horse, singing 
"I m bound for the land of Canaan," with some surprising 

At last Miss Fanny, as he constantly called her, inter 
posed with a very pregnant question. 

"Uncle Tiff, where is the land of Canaan? " 

"De Lord-a-mercy, chile, dat ar s what I d like to know 
myself. " 

"Is it heaven? " said Fanny. 

"Well, I reckon so," said Tiff dubiously. 

"Is it where ma is gone? " said Fanny. 

"Chile, I reckon it is," said Tiff. 

"Is it down under ground? " said Fanny. 

"Why, no! ho! ho! honey!" said Tiff, laughing heart 
ily. "What put dat ar in your head, Miss Fanny ? " 

" Did n t ma go that way ? " said Fanny ; " down through 
the ground ? " 

"Lordy, no, chile! Heaven sup!" said Tiff, pointing 
up to the intense blue sky which appeared through the 
fringy hollows of the pine-trees above them. 

"Is there any stairs anywhere? or any ladder to get up 
by ? " said Fanny. "Or do they walk to where the sky 
touches the ground, and get up ? Perhaps they climb up 
on the rainbow." 

"I don know, chile, how dey works it," said Uncle 
Tiff. "Dey gets dar somehow. I s studdin upon dat 
ar. I s gwine to camp-meeting to find out. I s been to 
plenty of dem ar, and I never could quite see clar. Pears 
like dey talks about everything else more n dey does about 
dat. Dere s de Methodists, dey cuts up de Presbyter ans; 
and de Presbyter ans pitches into de Methodists; and den, 
both on em s down on de Piscopals. My ole mist was 
Piscopal, and I never seed no harm in t. And de Bap 
tists think dey ain t none on em right; and while dey s 


all a-blowing out at each other, dat ar way, I a a wonder 
ing whar s de way to Canaan. It takes a mighty heap o 
laming to know about dese yer things, and I ain t got no 
laming. I don know nothing, only de Lord, He peared 
to your ma, and He knows de way, and He took her. 
But now, chile, I s gwine to fix you up right smart, and 
take you, Teddy, and de baby to dis yer camp-meeting, 
so you can seek de Lord in yer youth." 

"Tiff, if you please, I d rather not go!" said Fanny 
in an apprehensive tone. 

"Oh, bress de Lord, Miss Fanny, why not? Fustrate 
times dere." 

"There 11 be too many people. I don t want them to 
see us." 

The fact was, that Kose s slant speech about Tiff s 
maternal relationship, united with the sneers of Old Hun 
dred, had their effect upon Fanny s mind. Naturally 
proud, and fearful of ridicule, she shrank from the public 
display which would thus be made of their family condi 
tion; yet she would not for the world have betrayed to her 
kind old friend the real reason of her hesitation. But Old 
Tiff s keen eye had noticed the expression of the child s 
countenance at the time. If anybody supposes that the 
faithful old creature s heart was at all wounded by the 
perception, he is greatly mistaken. 

To Tiff it appeared a joke of the very richest quality; 
and as he rode along in silence for some time, he indulged 
himself in one of his quiet, long laughs, actually shaking 
his old sides till the tears streamed down his cheeks. 

"What s the matter with you, Tiff?" said Fanny. 

" Oh, Miss Fanny, Tiff knows ! Tiff knows de reason 
ye don t want to go to camp-meeting. Tiff s seen it in 
yer face ye ho! ho! ho! Miss Fanny, is you fraid 
dey 11 take Old Tiff for yer mammy ? ye ho ! ho ! ho ! 
for yer mammy? and Teddy s, and de baby s? 

286 DEED 

bless his little soul ! " And the amphibious old creature 
rollicked over the idea with infinite merriment. "Don t 
I look like it, Miss Fanny? Lord, ye por dear lamb, 
can t folks see ye s a born lady, with yer white, little 
hands? Don t ye be feard, Miss Fanny!" 

"I know it s silly," said Fanny; "but, beside, I don t 
like to be called poor ivliite folksy ! " 

"Oh, chile, it s only dem mean niggers! Miss Nina s 
allers good to ye, ain t she? Speaks to ye so handsome. 
Ye must memorize dat ar, Miss Fanny, and talk like Miss 
Nina. I s feard, now yer ma s dead, ye 11 fall into some 
o my nigger ways of talking. Member you mustn t talk 
like Old Tiff, cause young ladies and gen lemen mustn t 
talk like niggers. Now I says * dis and dat, dis yer and 
dat ar. Dat ar is nigger talk, and poor white folksy, too. 
Only de por white folks, dey s mis able, cause niggers 
knows what s good talk, but dey does n t. Lord, chile, 
Old Tiff knows what good talk is. Ain t he heard de 
greatest ladies and gen lemen in de land talk? But he 
don t want de trouble to talk dat ar way, cause he s a 
nigger! Tiff likes his own talk it s good enough for 
Tiff. Tiff s talk sarves him mighty well, I tell yer. But 
den, white children mustn t talk so. Now, you see, Miss 
Nina has got de prettiest way of saying her words. Dey 
drops out one after another, one after another, so pretty! 
Now, you mind, cause she s coming to see us off and on 
she promised so. And den, you keep a good lookout 
how she walks, and how she holds her pocket-handker 
chief. And when she sits down she kind o gives a little 
flirt to her clothes, so dey all set out round her like ruffles. 
Dese yer little ways ladies have! Why, dese yer por 
white folks, did yer ever mind der settin down ? Why, 
dey jist slaps down into a chair like a spoonful o mush, 
and der clothes all stick tight about em. I don t want 
nothing poor white folksy bout you. Den, if you don t 


understand what people s a-saying to you, any time, you 
mustn t star, like poor white chil en, and say, what? 
but you must say I beg pardon, sir, or, I beg pardon, 
ma am. Dat ar s de way. And, Miss Fanny, you and 
Teddy, you must study yer book; cause, if you can t 
read, den dey 11 be sure to say yer poor white folks. And 
den, Miss Fanny, you see dat ladies don t demean dem- 
selves with sweeping and scrubbing, and dem tings; and 
yet dey does work, honey ! Dey sews, and dey knits ; and 
it would be good for you to larn how to sew and knit; 
cause, you know, I can t allers make up all de clothes; 
cause, you see, young ladies haves ways wid em dat 
niggers can t get. Now, you see, Miss Fanny, all dese 
yer tings I was telling you, you must bserve. Now, you 
see, if you was one of dese yer poor white folks, dere be 
no use of your trying; cause dat ar scription o people 
couldn t never be ladies, if dey was waring themselves out 
a-trying. But you see, you s got it in you; you was born 
to it, honey. It s in de blood; and what s in de blood 
must come out ho ! ho ! ho ! " And with this final 
laugh, Tiff drew up to his dwelling. 

A busy day was before Old Tiff; for he was to set his 
house in order for a week s campaign. There was his corn 
to be hoed, his parsley to be weeded ; there was his orphan 
family of young partridges to be cared for. And Tiff, 
after some considerable consideration, resolved to take 
them along with him in a basket; thinking, in the inter 
vals of devotion, he should have an abundant opportunity 
to minister to their wants, and superintend their education. 
Then he went to one of his favorite springes, and brought 
from thence, not a fatted calf, to be sure, but a fatted 
coon, which he intended to take with him, to serve as the 
basis of a savory stew on the camp-ground. Tiff had a 
thriving company of pot-herbs, and a flourishing young 
colony of onions; so that, whatever might be true of the 

288 DEED 

sermons, it was evident that the stew would lack no savor. 
Teddy s clothes, also, were to be passed in review; wash 
ing and ironing to be done; the baby fitted up to do honor 
to his name, or rather to the name of his grandfather. 
With all these cares upon his mind, the old creature was 
even more than usually alert. The day was warm, and 
he resolved, therefore, to perform his washing operations 
in the magnificent kitchen of nature. He accordingly 
kindled a splendid bonfire, which was soon crackling at a 
short distance from the house, slung over it his kettle, and 
proceeded to some other necessary avocations. The pine 
wood, which had been imperfectly seasoned, served him 
the ungracious trick that pine wood is apt to do : it crackled 
and roared merrily while he was present, but while he was 
down examining his traps in the woods went entirely out, 
leaving only the blackened sticks. 

"Uncle Tiff," said Teddy, "the fire is all gone out!" 
"Ho! ho! ho! Has it?" said Tiff, coming up. 
"Gurus enough! Well, bress de Lord, got all de wood 
left, anyway; had a real bright fire, beside," said Tiff, 
intent on upholding the sunniest side of things. "Lord, 
it s de sun dat puts de fire out o countenance. Did you 
ever see fire dat wouldn t go out when de sun s shining 
right in its face? Dat ar is a curus fact. I s minded it 
heaps o times. Well, I 11 jist have to come out wid my 
light- wood kindlings, dat s all. Bress de Lord, ho! ho! 
ho!" said Tiff, laughing to himself "if dese yer ain t the 
very sp rit of de camp-meeting professors! Dey blazes 
away at de camp-meeting, and den dey s black all de year 
round! See em at de camp-meetings, you d say dey war 
gwine right into de kingdom, sure enough! Well, Lord 
have marcy on us all! Our ligion s drefful poor stuff! 
We don t know . but a despert leetle, and what we does 
know we don do. De good Mas r above must have his 
hands full with us ! " 



THE camp-meeting is one leading feature in the Ameri 
can development of religion, peculiarly suited to the wide 
extent of country, and to the primitive habits which gen 
erally accompany a sparse population. Undoubtedly its 
general effects have been salutary. Its evils have been 
only those incident to any large gatherings, in which the 
whole population of a country are brought promiscuously 
together. As in many other large assemblies of worship, 
there are those who go for all sorts of reasons; some from 
curiosity, some from love of excitement, some to turn a 
penny in a small way of trade, some to scoff, and a few to 
pray. And so long as the heavenly way remains straight 
and narrow, so long the sincere and humble worshipers 
will ever be the minority in all assemblies. We can give 
no better idea of the difference of motive which impelled 
the various worshipers, than by taking our readers from 
scene to scene, on the morning when different attendants of 
the meeting were making preparations to start. 

Between the grounds of Mr. John Gordon and the plan 
tation of Canema stood a log cabin, which was the trading 
establishment of Abijah Skinflint. The establishment was 
a nuisance in the eyes of the neighboring planters, from 
the general apprehension entertained that Abijah drove a 
brisk underhand trade with the negroes, and that the vari 
ous articles which he disposed for sale were many of them 
surreptitiously conveyed to him in nightly installments 

VOL. I. 

290 DEED 

from off their own plantations. But of this nothing could 
be proved. 

Abijah was a shrewd fellow, long, dry, lean, leathery, 
with a sharp nose, sharp, little, gray eyes, a sharp chin, 
and fingers as long as bird s claws. His skin was so dry 
that one would have expected that his cheeks would crackle 
whenever he smiled or spoke; and he rolled in them a 
never-failing quid of tobacco. 

Abijah was one of those over - shrewd Yankees who 
leave their country for their country s good, and who ex 
hibit, wherever they settle, such a caricature of the thrifty 
virtue of their native land as to justify the aversion which 
the native-born Southerner entertains for the Yankee. Abi 
jah drank his own whiskey, prudently, however, or, 
as he said, "never so as not to know what he was about." 

He had taken a wife from the daughters of the land, 
who also drank whiskey, but less prudently than her hus 
band, so that sometimes she did not know what she was 
about. Sons and daughters were born unto this promising 
couple, white-headed, forward, dirty, and ill mannered. 
But amid all domestic and social trials, Abijah maintained 
a constant and steady devotion to the main chance the 
acquisition of money. For money he would do anything; 
for money he would have sold his wife, his children, even 
his own soul, if he had happened to have one. But that 
article, had it ever existed, was now so small and dry, 
that one might have fancied it to rattle in his lean frame 
like a shriveled pea in a last year s peascod. Abijah was 
going to the camp-meeting for two reasons. One, of 
course, was to make money; and the other was to know 
whether his favorite preacher, Elder Stringfellow, handled 
the doctrine of election according to his views; for Abijah 
had a turn for theology, and could number off the five 
points of Calvinism on his five long fingers with unfailing 


It is stated in the Scriptures that the devils believe and 
tremble. The principal difference between their belief and 
Abijah s was, that he believed and did not tremble. 
Truths awful enough to have shaken the earth and veiled 
the sun, he could finger over with as much unconcern as a 
practiced anatomist the dry bones of a skeleton. 

"You, Sam!" said Abijah to his only negro helot, 
"you mind, you steady that ar bar l, so that it don t roll 
out, and pour a pailful of water in at the bung. It won t 
do to give it to em too strong. Mis Skinflint, you make 
haste! If you don t, I sha n t wait for you; cause, what 
ever the rest may do, it s important I should be on the 
ground early. Many a dollar lost for not being in time, 
in this world. Hurry, woman ! " 

"I am ready, but Polly ain t!" said Mrs. Skinflint. 
"She s busy a-plastering down her hair." 

"Can t wait for her!" said Abijah, as he sallied out of 
the house to get into the wagon, which stood before the 
door, into which he had packed a copious supply of hams, 
eggs, dressed chickens, corn-meal, and green summer vege 
tables, to say nothing of the barrel of whiskey aforesaid. 

"I say, dad, you stop! " called Polly, from the window. 
"If you don t, I ll make work for you fore you come 
home; you see if I don t! Durned if I won t! " 

"Come along, then, can t you? Next time we go any 
where, I 11 shut you up overnight to begin to dress! " 

Polly hastily squeezed her fat form into a red calico 
dress, and seizing a gay summer shawl, with her bonnet 
in her hand, rushed to the wagon and mounted, the hooks 
of her dress successively exploding, and flying off, as she 
stooped to get in. 

"Durned if I knows what to do!" said she; "this yer 
old durned gear coat s all off my back! " 

"Gals is always fools! " said Abijah consolingly. 

"Stick in a pin, Polly," said her mother in an easy, 
sing-song drawl. 

292 DEED 

"Durn you, old woman, every hook is off!" said the 
promising young lady. 

"Stick in more pins, then," said the mamma; and the 
vehicle of Abijah passed onward. 

On the verge of the swamp, a little beyond Tiff s cabin, 
lived Ben Dakin. 

Ben was a mighty hunter; he had the best pack of dogs 
within thirty miles round; and his advertisements, still to 
be seen standing in the papers of his native state, detailed 
with great accuracy the precise terms on which he would 
hunt down and capture any man, woman, or child, escap 
ing from service and labor in that country. Our readers 
must not necessarily suppose Ben to have been a monster 
for all this, when they recollect that, within a few years, 
both the great political parties of our Union solemnly 
pledged themselves, as far as in them lay, to accept a simi 
lar vocation; and as many of them were in good and 
regular standing in churches, and had ministers to preach 
sermons to the same effect, we trust they 11 entertain no 
unreasonable prejudice against Ben on this account. 

In fact, Ben was a tall, broad-shouldered, bluff, hearty- 
looking fellow, who would do a kind turn for a neighbor 
with as much good will as anybody; and except that he 
now and then took a little too much whiskey, as he him 
self admitted, he considered himself quite as promising a 
candidate for the kingdom as any of the company who were 
going up to camp-meeting. Had any one ventured to 
remonstrate with Ben against the nature of his profession, 
he would probably have defended it by pretty much the 
same arguments by which modern theologians defend the 
institution of which it is a branch. 

Ben was just one of those jovial fellows who never could 
bear to be left behind in anything that was going on in the 
community, and was always one of the foremost in a camp- 
meeting. He had a big, loud voice, and could roll out the 


chorus of hymns with astonishing effect. He was gener 
ally converted at every gathering of this kind; though 
through the melancholy proclivity to whiskey, before 
alluded to, he usually fell from grace before the year was 
out. Like many other big and hearty men, he had a 
little, pale, withered moonshiny wisp of a wife, who hung 
on his elbow much like an empty work-bag; and Ben, to 
do him justice, was kind to the wilted little mortal, as if 
he almost suspected that he had absorbed her vitality into 
his own exuberant growth. She was greatly given to 
eating clay, cleaning her teeth with snuff, and singing 
Methodist hymns, and had a very sincere concern for Ben s 
salvation. The little woman sat resignedly on the morn 
ing we speak of, while a long-limbed, broad-shouldered 
child, of two years, with bristly white hair, was pulling 
her by her ears and hair, and otherwise maltreating her, 
to make her get up to give him a piece of bread and 
molasses; and she, without seeming to attend to the child, 
was giving earnest heed to her husband. 

"There s a despit press of business now!" said Ben. 
"There s James s niggers, and Smith s Polly, and we 
ought to be on the trail, right away ! " 

" Oh, Ben, you ought to tend to your salvation afore 
anything else ! " said his wife. 

"That s true enough!" said Ben; "meetings don t 
come every day. But what are we to do with dis yer uri ? " 
pointing to the door of an inner room. 

"Dis yer un " was no other than a negro woman, named 
Nance, who had been brought in by the dogs, the day 

"Laws!" said his wife, "we can set her something to 
eat, and leave the dogs in front of the door. She can t 
get out." 

Ben threw open the door, and displayed to view a low 
kind of hutch, without any other light than that between 

294 DRED 

the crevices of the logs. On the floor, which was of hard- 
trodden earth, sat a sinewy, lean negro woman, drawing 
up her knees with her long arms, and resting her chin 
upon them. 

"Hollo, Nance, how are you?" said Ben, rather cheer- 


"Po rly, mas r," said the other in a sullen tone. 

"Nance, you think your old man will whale you, when 
he gets you 1 " said Ben. 

"I reckons he will," said Nance; "he allers does." 

"Well, Nance, the old woman and I want to go to a 
camp-meeting; and I ll just tell you what it is, you 
stay here quiet, while we are gone, and I 11 make the old 
fellow promise not to wallop you. I would n t mind tak 
ing off something of the price that s fair, ain t it? " 

"Yes, mas r!" said the woman in the same subdued 

" Does your foot hurt you much 1 " said Ben. 

"Yes, mas r!" said the woman. 

"Let me look at it," said Ben. 

The woman put out one foot, which had been loosely 
bound up in old rags, now saturated in blood. 

"I declar, if that ar dog ain t a pealer!" said Ben. 
"Nance, you ought ter have stood still; then he wouldn t 
have hurt you so." 

"Lord, he hurt me so I couldn t stand still!" said the 
woman. "It ain t natur to stand still with a critter s 
teeth in yer foot." 

"Well, I don t know as it is," said Ben good naturedly. 
"Here, Mis Dakin, you bind up this here gal s foot. 
Stop your noise, sir-ee ! " he added, to the young aspirant 
for bread and molasses, who, having dispatched one piece, 
was clamoring vigorously for another. 

"I ll tell you what!" said Ben to his wife, "I am 
going to talk to that ar old Elder Settle. I runs more 


niggers for him than any man in the county, and I know 
there s some reason for it. Niggers don t run into swamps 
when they s treated well. Folks that professes religion, 
I think, oughtn t to starve their niggers, noway! " 

Soon the vehicle of Ben was also on the road. He 
gathered up the reins vigorously, threw back his head to 
get the full benefit of his lungs, and commenced a vehe 
ment camp-meeting melody, to the tune of 

"Am I a soldier of the cross, 
A follower of the Lamb ? " 

A hymn, by the bye, which was one of Ben s particular 

We come next, to Tiff s cottage, of which the inmates 
were astir, in the coolness of the morning, bright and 
early. Tiff s wagon was a singular composite article, prin 
cipally of his own construction. The body of it consisted 
of a long packing-box. The wheels were all odd ones, 
that had been brought home at different times by Cripps. 
The shafts were hickory-poles, thinned at one end, and 
fastened to the wagon by nails. Some barrel-hoops bent 
over the top, covered by coarse white cotton cloth, formed 
the curtains, and a quantity of loose straw dispersed inside 
was the only seat. The lean, one-eyed horse was secured 
to this vehicle by a harness made of old ropes; but no 
millionaire, however, ever enjoyed his luxuriantly cush 
ioned coach with half the relish with which Tiff enjoyed 
his equipage. It was the work of his hands, the darling 
of his heart, the delight of his eyes. To be sure, like 
other mortal darlings, it was to be admitted that it had its 
weak points and failings. The wheels would now and 
then come off, the shafts get loose, or the harness break; 
but Tiff was always prepared, and on occasion of any such 
mishaps would jump out and attend to them with such 
cheerful alacrity, that, if anything, he rather seemed to 
love it better for the accident. There it stands now, 

296 DEED 

before the inclosure of the little cabin; and Tiff and 
Fanny and Teddy, with bustling assiduity, are packing 
and arranging it. The gum-tree cradle -trough took prece 
dence of all other articles. Tiff, by the private advice of 
Aunt Rose, had just added to this an improvement, which 
placed it, in his view, tip-top among cradles. He had 
nailed to one end of it a long splint of elastic hickory, 
which drooped just over the baby s face. From this was 
suspended a morsel of salt pork, which this young scion of 
a noble race sucked with a considerate relish, while his 
large, round eyes opened and shut with sleepy satisfaction. 
This arrangement Rose had recommended, in mysterious 
tones, as all powerful in making sucking babies forget 
their mammies, whom otherwise they might pine for in a 
manner prejudicial to their health. 

Although the day was sultry, Tiff was arrayed in his 
long-skirted white greatcoat, as his nether garments were 
in too dilapidated a state to consist with the honor of the 
family. His white felt hat still bore the band of black 

"It s a mazin good day, bless de Lord!" said Tiff. 
" Pears like dese yer birds would split der troats, praising 
de Lord! It s a mighty good zample to us, anyway. 
You see, Miss Fanny, you never see birds put out, nor 
snarly like, rain or shine. Dey s allers a- praising de 
Lord. Lord, it seems as if critters is better dan we be ! " 
And as Tiff spoke, he shouldered into the wagon a mighty 
bag of corn; but failing in what he meant to do, the bag 
slid over the side, and tumbled back into the road. Being 
somewhat of the oldest, the fall burst it asunder, and the 
corn rolled into the sand, with that provoking alacrity 
which things always have when they go the wrong way. 
Fanny and Teddy both uttered an exclamation of lamenta 
tion; but Tiff held on to his sides and laughed till the 
tears rolled down his cheeks. 


"He! he! he! ho! ho! ho! Why, dat ar is de last 
bag we s got, and dar s all de corn a- running out in de 
sand! Ho! ho! ho! Lord, it s so curus! " 

" Why, what are you going to do 1 " said Fanny. 

"Oh, bress you, Miss Fanny," said Tiff, "I s bound to 
do something, anyhow. Clare for it, now, if I hain t got 
a box ! " And Tiff soon returned with the article in ques 
tion, which proved too large for the wagon. The corn, 
however, was emptied into it pro tern., and Tiff, producing 
his darning-needle and thimble, sat down seriously to the 
task of stitching up the hole. 

"De Lord s things ain t never in a hurry," said Tiff. 
"Corn and tatoes will have der time, and why shouldn t 
I? Dar," he said, after having mended the bag and re 
placed the corn, "dat ar s better now nor twas before." 

Besides his own store of provisions, Tiff prudently laid 
into his wagon enough of garden stuff to turn a penny for 
Miss Fanny and the children, on the camp-ground. His 
commissariat department, in fact, might have provoked 
appetite, even among the fastidious. There were dressed 
chickens and rabbits, the coon aforesaid, bundles of savory 
herbs, crisp, dewy lettuce, bunches of onions, radishes, and 
green peas. 

"Tell ye what, chil en," said Tiff, "we ll live like 
princes ! And you mind, order me round well. Let folks 
har ye; cause what s de use of having a nigger, and 
nobody knowing it 1 " 

And everything being arranged, Tiff got in, and jogged 
comfortably along. At the turn of the cross-road, Tiff, 
looking a little behind, saw, on the other road, the Gordon 
carriage coming, driven by Old Hundred, arrayed in his 
very best ruffled shirt, white gloves, and gold hat-band. 

If ever Tiff came near having a pang in his heart, it 
was at that moment; but he retreated stoutly upon the 
idea that, however appearances might be against them, his 

298 DEED 

family was no less ancient and honorable for that; and, 
therefore, putting on all his dignity, he gave his beast an 
extra cut, as who should say, "I don t care." 

But as ill luck would have it, the horse, at this instant, 
giving a jerk, wrenched out the nails that fastened the 
shaft on one side, and it fell, trailing dishonored on the 
ground. The rope harness pulled all awry, and just at 
this moment the Gordon carriage swept up. 

"Tore I d drive sich old trash!" said Old Hundred 
scornfully; "pulls all to pieces every step! If dat ar ain t 
a poor white folksy stablishment, I never seed one! " 

"What s the matter?" said Nina, putting her head 
out. "Oh, Tiff! good-morning, my good fellow. Can 
we help you, there 1 John, get down and help him. " 

"Please, Miss Nina, de bosses is so full o tickle, dis yer 
mornin , I couldn t let go, noways! " said Old Hundred. 

" Oh, laws bless you, Miss Nina," said Tiff, restored to his 
usual spirits, " t ain t no thin . Broke in a strordinary good 
place dis yer time. I ken hammer it up in a minute." 

And Tiff was as good as his word; for a round stone 
and big nail made all straight. 

"Pray," said Nina, "how are little Miss Fanny, and 
the children 1 " 

Miss Fanny ! If Nina had heaped Tiff with presents, 
she could not have conferred the inexpressible obligation 
conveyed in these words. He bowed low to the ground, 
with the weight of satisfaction, and answered that "Miss 
Fanny and the chil en were well." 

"There," said Nina, "John, you may drive on. Do 
you know, friends, I ve set Tiff up for six weeks, by one 
word? Just saying Miss Fanny has done more for him 
than if I d sent him six bushels of potatoes." 

We have yet to take our readers to one more scene before 
we finish the review of those who were going to the camp- 


meeting. The reader must follow us far beyond the abodes 
of man, into the recesses of that wild desolation known as 
the "Dismal Swamp." We pass over vast tracts where 
the forest seems growing out of the water. Cypress, red 
cedar, sweet-gum, tulip, poplar, beech, and holly form a 
goodly fellowship, waving their rustling boughs above. 
The trees shoot up in vast columns, fifty, seventy-five, and 
a hundred feet in height; and below are clusters of ever 
green gall-bushes, with their thick and glossy foliage, 
mingled in with swamp honeysuckles, grapevines, twining 
brier, and laurels, and other shrubs, forming an impene 
trable thicket. The creeping plants sometimes climb sev 
enty or eighty feet up the largest tree, and hang in heavy 
festoons from their branches. It would seem impossible 
that human foot could penetrate the wild, impervious 
jungle; but we must take our readers through it, to a 
cleared spot, where trunks of fallen trees, long decayed, 
have formed an island of vegetable mould, which the art 
of some human hand has extended and improved. The 
clearing is some sixty yards long by thirty broad, and is 
surrounded with a natural rampart, which might well bid 
defiance to man or beast. Huge trees have been felled, 
with all their branches lying thickly one over another, in 
a circuit around; and nature, seconding the efforts of the 
fugitives who sought refuge here, has interlaced the frame 
work thus made with thorny cat-briers, cables of grape 
vine, and thickets of Virginia creeper, which, running wild 
in their exuberance, climb on to the neighboring trees, 
and swinging down, again lose themselves in the mazes 
from which they spring, so as often to form a verdurous 
wall fifty feet in height. In some places the laurel, with 
its glossy green leaves, and its masses of pink-tipped snowy 
blossoms, presents to the eye, rank above rank, a wilder 
ness of beauty. The pendants of the yellow jessamine 
swing to and fro in the air like censers, casting forth clouds 

300 DEED 

of perfume. A thousand twining vines, with flowers of 
untold name, perhaps unknown as yet to the botanist, help 
to fill up the mosaic. The leafy ramparts sweep round on 
all the sides of the clearing, for the utmost care has been 
taken to make it impenetrable ; and in that region of heat 
and moisture, nature, in the course of a few weeks, admi 
rably seconds every human effort. The only egress from 
it is a winding path cut through with a hatchet, which can 
be entered by only one person at a time; and the water 
which surrounds this island entirely cuts off the trail from 
the scent of dogs. It is to be remarked that the climate, 
in the interior of the swamp, is far from being unhealthy. 
Lumbermen, who spend great portions of the year in it, 
cutting shingles and staves, testify to the general salubrity 
of the air and water. The opinion prevails among them 
that the quantity of pine and other resinous trees that 
grow there impart a balsamic property to the water, and 
impregnate the air with a healthy, resinous fragrance, 
which causes it to be an exception to the usual rule of the 
unhealthiness of swampy land. The soil also, when 
drained sufficiently for purposes of culture, is profusely 
fertile. Two small cabins stood around the border of the 
clearing, but the centre was occupied with patches of corn 
and sweet potatoes, planted there to secure as much as 
possible the advantage of sun and air. 

At the time we take our readers there, the afternoon 
sun of a sultry June day is casting its long shadows over 
the place, and a whole choir of birds is echoing in the 
branches. On the ground, in front of one of the cabins, 
lies a negro man, covered with blood; two women, with 
some little children, are grouped beside him; and a wild 
figure, whom we at once recognize as Dred, is kneeling by 
him, busy in efforts to stanch a desperate wound in the 
neck. In vain ! The red blood spurts out at every pulsa 
tion of the heart, with a fearful regularity, telling too 


plainly that it is a great life-artery which has been laid 
open. The negro woman, kneeling on the other side, is 
anxiously holding some bandages, which she has stripped 
from a portion of her raiment. 

"Oh, put these on, quick do!" 

"It J s no use," said Dred; "he is going! " 

"Oh, do! don t, don t let him go! Can t you save 
him ? " said the woman in tones of agony. 

The wounded man s eyes opened, and first fixed them 
selves, with a vacant stare, on the blue sky above ; then, 
turning on the woman, he seemed to try to speak. He 
had had a strong arm; he tries to raise it, but the blood 
wells up with the effort, the eye glazes, the large frame 
shivers for a few moments, and then all is still. The blood 
stops flowing now, for the heart has stopped beating, and 
an immortal soul has gone back to Him who gave it. 

The man was a fugitive from a neighboring plantation 
a simple-hearted, honest fellow, who had fled, with his 
wife and children, to save her from the licentious persecu 
tion of the overseer. Dred had received and sheltered 
him; had built him a cabin, and protected him for months. 

A provision of the Revised Statutes of North Carolina 
enacts that slaves thus secreted in the swamps, not return 
ing within a given time, shall be considered outlawed; and 
that "it shall be lawful for any person or persons whatso 
ever to kill and destroy such slaves, by such ways and 
means as they shall think fit, without any accusation or 
impeachment of crime for the same." It also provides 
that, when any slave shall be killed in consequence of such 
outlawry, the value of such slave shall be ascertained by 
a jury, and the owner entitled to receive two thirds of the 
valuation from the sheriff of the county wherein the slave 
was killed. 

In olden times, the statute provided that the proclama 
tion of outlawry should be published on a Sabbath day, at 

302 DEED 

the door of any church or chapel, or place where divine 
service should he performed, immediately after divine ser 
vice, hy the parish clerk or reader. In the spirit of this 
permission, a party of negro-hunters, with dogs and guns, 
had chased this man, who, on this day, had unfortunately 
ventured out of his concealment. He succeeded in outrun 
ning all hut one dog, which sprang up, and fastening his 
fangs in his throat, laid him prostrate within a few paces 
of his retreat. Dred came up in time to kill the dog, hut 
the wound, as appeared, had proved a mortal one. 

As soon as the wife perceived that her husband was 
really dead, she broke into a loud wail. "Oh, dear, he s 
gone ! and t was all for me he did it ! Oh, he was so good, 
such a good man ! Oh, do tell me, is he dead, is he ? " 

Dred lifted the yet warm hand in his a moment, and 
then dropped it heavily. " Dead ! " he said, in a deep 
undertone of suppressed emotion. Suddenly kneeling 
down beside him, he lifted his hands, and broke forth 
with wild vehemence: "0 Lord God, to whom vengeance 
belongeth, show thyself! Lift up thyself, thou Judge of 
the earth, render a reward to the proud ! Doubtless thou 
art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and 
Israel acknowledge us not. Thou, Lord, art our Father, 
our Eedeemer; thy ways are everlasting where is thy 
zeal and thy strength, and the sounding of thy bowels 
towards us ? Are they restrained ? " Then, tossing his 
hands to heaven, with a yet wilder gesture, he almost 
screamed: "0 Lord! Lord! how long? Oh, that thou 
wouldst rend the heavens and come down! Oh, let the 
sighings of the prisoner come before thee ! Our bones are 
scattered at the grave s mouth, as when one cutteth and 
cleaveth wood! We are given as sheep to the slaughter! 
We are killed all the day long! Lord, avenge us of our 
adversaries ! " 

These words were spoken with a vehement earnestness 


of gesture and voice, that hushed the lamentation of the 
mourners. Rising up from his knees, he stood a moment 
looking down at the lifeless form before him. "See here," 
he said, "what harm had this man done? Was he not 
peaceable ? Did he not live here in quietness, tilling the 
ground in the sweat of his brow? Why have they sent 
the hunters upon him? Because he wanted to raise his 
corn for himself, and not for another. Because he wanted 
his wife for himself, and not for another. Was not the 
worldwide enough? Isn t there room enough under the 
sky ? Because this man wished to eat the fruit of his own 
labor, the decree went forth against him, even the curse of 
Cain, so that whosoever findeth him shall kill him. Will 
not the Lord be avenged on such a people as this? To 
night they will hold their solemn assembly, and blow the 
trumpet in their new moon, and the prophets will prophesy 
falsely, and the priests will speak wickedly concerning 
oppression. The word of the Lord saith unto me, Go 
unto this people, and break before them the staff beauty 
and the staff bands, and be a sign unto this people of the 
terror of the Lord. Behold, saith the Lord, therefore have 
I raised thee up and led thee through the wilderness, 
through the desolate places of the land not sown. " 

As Dred spoke, his great black eye seemed to enlarge 
itself and roll with a glassy fullness, like that of a sleep 
walker in a somnambulic dream. His wife, seeing him 
prepare to depart, threw herself upon him. 

"Oh, don t, don t leave us! You 11 be killed, some of 
these times, just as they killed him ! " 

"Woman! the burden of the Lord is upon me. The 
word of the Lord is as a fire shut up in my bones. The 
Lord saith unto me, Go show unto this people their in 
iquity, and be a sign unto this evil nation ! " 

Breaking away from his wife, he precipitated himself 
through an opening into the thicket, and was gone. 



THE place selected for the camp-meeting was in one of 
the most picturesque portions of the neighborhood. It 
was a small, partially cleared spot, in the midst of a dense 
forest, which stretched away in every direction, in cool, 
green aisles of checkered light and shade. In the central 
clearing, a sort of rude amphitheatre of seats was formed 
of rough pine slahs. Around on the edges of the forest 
the tents of the various worshipers were pitched; for the 
spending of three or four days and nights upon the ground 
is deemed an essential part of the service. The same clear 
stream which wound round the dwelling of Tiff prattled its 
way, with a modest gurgle, through this forest, and fur 
nished the assembly with water. 

The Gordons, having come merely for the purposes of 
curiosity, and having a residence in the neighborhood, did 
not provide themselves with a tent. The servants, how 
ever, were less easily satisfied. Aunt Rose shook her 
head, and declared, oracularly, that "de blessing was sure 
to come down in de night, and dem dat wanted to get a 
part of it would have to be dar ! " 

Consequently, Nina was beset to allow her people to 
have a tent, in which they were to take turns in staying 
all night, as candidates for the blessing. In compliance 
with that law of good-humored indulgence which had been 
the traditionary usage of her family, Nina acceded; and 
the Gordon tent spread its snowy sails, to the rejoicing of 
their hearts. Aunt Rose predominated about the door, 


alternately slapping the children and joining the chorus of 
hymns which she heard from every part of the camp 
ground. On the outskirts were various rude booths, in 
which whiskey and water, and sundry articles of provision, 
and fodder for horses, were dispensed for a consideration. 
Abijah Skinflint here figured among the money-changers, 
while his wife and daughter were gossiping through the 
tents of the women. In front of the seats, under a dense 
cluster of pines, was the preacher s stand: a rude stage of 
rough boards, with a railing around it, and a desk of small 
slabs, supporting a Bible and a hymn-book. 

The preachers were already assembling; and no small 
curiosity was expressed with regard to them by the people, 
who were walking up and down among the tents. Nina, 
leaning on the arm of Clayton, walked about the area with 
the rest. Anne Clayton leaned on the arm of Uncle John. 
Aunt Nesbit and Aunt Maria came behind. To Nina the 
scene was quite new, for a long residence in the northern 
states had placed her out of the way of such things; and 
her shrewd insight into character, and her love of drollery, 
found an abundant satisfaction in the various little points 
and oddities of the scene. They walked to the Gordon 
tent, in which a preliminary meeting was already in full 
course. A circle of men and women, interspersed with 
children, were sitting, with their eyes shut, and their 
heads thrown back, singing at the top of their voices. 
Occasionally, one or other would vary the exercises by 
clapping of hands, jumping up straight into the air, falling 
flat on the ground, screaming, dancing, and laughing. 

" Oh, set me up on a rock ! " screamed one. 

"I s sot up! " screamed another. 

"Glory!" cried the third, and a tempest of "amens" 
poured in between. 

"I s got a sperience!" cried one, and forthwith began 
piping it out in a high key, while others kept on singing. 

VOL. i. 

306 DEED 

"I s got a sperience!" shouted Tomtit, whom Aunt 
Rose, with maternal care, had taken with her. 

"No, you ain t neither! Sit down!" said Aunt Rose, 
kneading him down as if he had been a batch of biscuits, 
and going on at the same time with her hymn. 

"I s on the Rock of Ages! " screamed a neighbor. 

" I want to get on a rock edgeways ! " screamed Tomtit, 
struggling desperately with Aunt Rose s great fat hands. 

"Mind yourself! I ll crack you over!" said Aunt 
Rose. And Tomtit, still continuing rebellious, ivas 
cracked over accordingly, with such force as to send him 
head-foremost on the straw at the bottom of the tent; an 
indignity which he resented with loud howls of impotent 
wrath, which, however, made no impression in the general 
whirlwind of screaming, shouting, and praying. 

Nina and Uncle John stood at the tent-door laughing 
heartily. Clayton looked on with his usual thoughtful 
gravity of aspect. Anne turned her head away with an 
air of disgust. 

"Why don t you laugh?" said Nina, looking round at 

"It doesn t make me feel like it," said Anne. "It 
makes me feel melancholy." 

"Why so?" 

"Because religion is a sacred thing with me, and I don t 
like to see it travestied," said she. 

"Oh," said Nina, "I don t respect religion any the less 
for a good laugh at its oddities. I believe I was born 
without any organ of reverence, and so don t feel the in 
congruity of the thing as you do. The distance between 
laughing and praying is n t so very wide in my mind as it 
is in some people s." 

"We must have charity," said Clayton, "for every reli 
gious manifestation. Barbarous and half-civilized people 
always find the necessity for outward and bodily demon- 


stration in worship; I suppose because the nervous excite 
ment wakes up and animates their spiritual natures, and 
gets them into a receptive state, just as you have to shake 
up sleeping persons and shout in their ears to put them in 
a condition to understand you. I have known real conver 
sions to take place under just these excitements." 

"But," said Anne, "I think we might teach them to 
be decent. These things ought not to be allowed ! " 

"I believe," said Clayton, "intolerance is a rooted vice 
in our nature. The world is as full of different minds and 
bodies as the woods are of leaves, and each one has its own 
habit of growth. And yet our first impulse is to forbid 
everything that would not be proper for us. No, let the 
African scream, dance, and shout, and fall in trances. It 
suits his tropical lineage and blood as much as our thought 
ful inward ways do us." 

"I wonder who that is! " said Nina, as a general move 
ment on the ground proclaimed the arrival of some one 
who appeared to be exciting general interest. The stranger 
was an unusually tall, portly man, apparently somewhat 
past the middle of life, whose erect carriage, full figure, 
and red cheeks, and a certain dashing frankness of manner, 
might have indicated him as belonging rather to the mili 
tary than the clerical profession. He carried a rifle on his 
shoulder, which he set down carefully against the corner of 
the preacher s stand, and went around shaking hands 
among the company with a free and jovial air that might 
almost be described by the term rollicking. 

"Why," said Uncle John, "that s Father Bonnie! 
How are you, my fine fellow ? " 

"What! you, Mr. Gordon? How do you do?" said 
Father Bonnie, grasping his hand in his, and shaking it 
heartily. "Why, they tell me," he said, looking at him 
with a jovial smile, " that you have fallen from grace ! " 

"Even so!" said Uncle John. "I am a sad dog, I 
dare say." 

308 DEED 

"Oh, I tell you what," said Father Bonnie, "but it 
takes a strong hook and a long line to pull in you rich 
sinners! Your money-bags and your niggers hang round 
you like millstones! You are too tough for the gospel! 
Ah! " said he, shaking his fist at him playfully, "but I m 
going to come down upon you, to-day, with the law, I can 
tell you! You want the thunders of Sinai! You must 
have a dose of the law ! " 

"Well," said Uncle John, "thunder away! I suppose 
we need it, all of us. But now, Father Bonnie, you 
ministers are always preaching to us poor dogs on the evils 
of riches; but, somehow, I don t see any of you that are 
much afraid of owning horses, or niggers, or any other 
good thing that you can get your hands on. Now, I hear 
that you ve got a pretty snug little place, and a likely 
drove to work it. You 11 have to look out for your own 
soul, Father Bonnie ! " 

A general laugh echoed this retort; for Father Bonnie 
had the reputation of being a shrewder hand at a bargain, 
and of having more expertness in swapping a horse or 
trading a negro, than any other man for six counties round. 

"He s into you, now, old man!" said several of the 
bystanders laughingly. 

"Oh, as to that," said Father Bonnie, laughing, also, 
"I go in with Paul, they that preach the gospel must 
live of the gospel. Now, Paul was a man that stood up 
for his rights to live as other folks do. Is n t it right, 
says he, that those that plant a vineyard should first eat 
of the fruit? Haven t we power to lead about a sister, a 
wife ? says he. And if Paul had lived in our time he 
would have said a drove of niggers, too! No danger about 
us ministers being hurt by riches, while you laymen are so 
slow about supporting the gospel ! " 

At the elbow of Father Bonnie stood a brother minister, 
who was in many respects his contrast. He was tall, thin, 


and stooping, with earnest black eyes, and a serene sweet 
ness of expression. A threadbare suit of rusty black, evi 
dently carefully worn, showed the poverty of his worldly 
estate. He carried in his hand a small portmanteau, pro 
bably containing a change of linen, his Bible, and a few 
sermons. Father Dickson was a man extensively known 
through all that region. He was one of those men among 
the ministers of America who keep alive our faith in 
Christianity, and renew on earth the portrait of the old 
apostle: "In journeyings often, in weariness and painful- 
ness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings 
often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that 
are without, that which cometh upon them daily, the care 
of all the churches. Who is weak, and they are not weak 1 
who is offended, and they burn not ? " 

Every one in the state knew and respected Father Dick- 
son; and like the generality of the world, people were 
very well pleased, and thought it extremely proper and 
meritorious for him to bear weariness and painfulness, 
hunger and cold, in their spiritual service, leaving to them 
the right of attending or not attending to him, according 
to their own convenience. Father Dickson was one of 
those who had never yielded to the common customs and 
habits of the country in regard to the holding of slaves. 
A few, who had been left him by a relation, he had at 
great trouble and expense transported to a free state, and 
settled there comfortably. The world need not trouble 
itself with seeking to know or reward such men; for the 
world cannot know and has no power to reward them. 
Their citizenship is in heaven, and all that can be given 
them in this life is like a morsel which a peasant gives in his 
cottage to him who to-morrow will reign over a kingdom. 

He had stood listening to the conversation thus far with 
the grave yet indulgent air with which he generally listened 
to the sallies of his ministerial brothers. Father Bonnie, 

310 DRED 

though not as much respected or confided in as Father 
Dickson, had, from the frankness of his manners, and a 
certain rude but effective style of eloquence, a more general 
and apparent popularity. He produced more sensation on 
the camp-ground; could sing louder and longer, and would 
often rise into flights of eloquence both original and im 
pressive. Many were offended by the freedom of his man 
ner out of the pulpit; and the stricter sort were known to 
have said of him, "that when out he never ought to be in, 
and when in never out." As the laugh that rose at his 
last sally died away, he turned to Father Dickson, and 
said : 

"What do you think?" 

"I don t think," said Father Dickson mildly, "that you 
would ever have found Paul leading a drove of negroes." 

"Why not, as well as Abraham, the father of the faith 
ful? Didn t he have three hundred trained servants?" 

"Servants, perhaps; but not slaves!" said Father Dick- 
son, "for they all bore arms. For my "part, I think that 
the buying, selling, and trading of human beings, for pur 
poses of gain, is a sin in the sight of God." 

"Well, now, Father Dickson, I wouldn t have thought 
you had read your Bible to so little purpose as that! I 
wouldn t believe it! What do you say to Moses? " 

"He led out a whole army of fugitive slaves through 
the Bed Sea," said Father Dickson. 

"Well, I tell you, now," said Father Bonnie, "if the 
buying, selling, or holding of a slave for the sake of gain 
is, as you say, a sin, then three fourths of all the Episco 
palians, Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians, in the slave 
states of the Union, are of the devil ! " 

"I think it is a sin, notwithstanding," said Father Dick- 
son quietly. 

"Well, but doesn t Moses say expressly, * Ye shall buy 
of the heathen round about you ? " 


" There s into him ! " said a Georgia trader, who, hav 
ing camped with a coffle of negroes in the neighborhood, 
had come up to camp-meeting. 

"All those things," said Father Dickson, "belong to 
the old covenant, which Paul says was annulled for the 
weakness and unprofitableness thereof, and have nothing 
to do with us, who have risen with Christ. We have got 
past Mount Sinai and the wilderness, and have come unto 
Mount Zion ; and ought to seek the things that are above, 
where Christ sitteth." 

"I say, brother," said another of the ministers, tapping 
him on the shoulder, "it s time for the preaching to 
begin. You can finish your discussion some other time. 
Come, Father Bonnie, come forward, here, and strike up 
the hymn." 

Father Bonnie accordingly stepped to the front of the 
stand, and with him another minister, of equal height and 
breadth of frame, and standing with their hats on, they 
uplifted, in stentorian voices, the following hymn : 

"Brethren don t you hear the sound ? 

The martial trumpet now is blowing ; 
Men in order listing round, 
And soldiers to the standard flowing." 

As the sound of the hymn rolled through the aisles and 
arches of the wood, the heads of different groups, who had 
been engaged in conversation, were observed turning 
toward the stand, and voices from every part of the camp 
ground took up the air, as, suiting the action to the words, 
they began flowing to the place of preaching. The hymn 
went on, keeping up the same martial images : 

" Bounty offered, life and peace ; 

To every soldier this is given, 
When the toils of life shall cease, 

A mansion bright, prepared in heaven." 

As the throng pressed up, and came crowding from the 
distant aisles of the wood, the singers seemed to exert 

312 DRED 

themselves to throw a wilder vehemence into the song, 
stretching out their arms and beckoning eagerly. They 
went on singing : 

" You need not fear ; the cause is good, 

Let who will to the crown aspire: 
In this cause the martyrs bled, 
And shouted victory in the fire. 

"In this cause let s follow on, 

And soon we 11 tell the pleasing story, 
How by faith we won the crown, 

And fought our way to life and glory. 

"Oh, ye rebels, come and list ! 

The officers are now recruiting: 
Why will you in sin persist, 

Or waste your time in vain disputing ? 

" All excuses now are vain ; 

For, if you do not sue for favor, 
Down you Ml sink to endless pain, 
And bear the wrath of God forever." 

There is always something awful in the voice of the 
multitude. It would seem as if the breath that a crowd 
breathed out together, in moments of enthusiasm, carried 
with it a portion of the dread and mystery of their own 
immortal natures. The whole area before the pulpit, and 
in the distant aisles of the forest, became one vast, surging 
sea of sound, as negroes and whites, slaves and free men, 
saints and sinners, slave-holders, slave-hunters, slave- 
traders, ministers, elders, and laymen, alike joined in the 
pulses of that mighty song. A flood of electrical excite 
ment seemed to rise with it, as, with a voice of many 
waters, the rude chant went on : 

" Hark ! the victors singing loud ! 

Emanuel s chariot wheels are rumbling; 
Mourners weeping through the crowd, 

And Satan s kingdom down is tumbling! " 

Our friend, Ben Dakin, pressed to the stand, and with 
tears streaming down his cheeks, exceeded all others in the 


energy of his vociferations. Ben had just come from 
almost a fight with another slave-hunter, who had boasted 
a better- trained pack of dogs than his own ; and had broken 
away to hurry to the camp-ground, with the assurance that 
he d "give him fits when the preachin was over;" and 
now he stood there, tears rolling down his cheeks, singing 
with the heartiest earnestness and devotion. What shall 
we make of it ? Poor heathen Ben ! is it any more out of 
the way for him to think of being a Christian in this 
manner than for some of his more decent brethren, who 
take Sunday passage for eternity in the cushioned New 
York or Boston pews, and solemnly drowse through very 
sleepy tunes, under a dim, hazy impression that they are 
going to heaven 1 ? Of the two, we think Ben s chance is 
the best; for in some blind way he does think himself 
a sinner, and in need of something he calls salvation; and, 
doubtless, while the tears stream down his face, the poor 
fellow makes a new resolve against the whiskey-bottle, 
while his more respectable sleepy brethren never think of 
making one against the cotton-bale. 

Then there was his rival, also, Jim Stokes, a surly, 
foul-mouthed, swearing fellow, he joins in the chorus of 
the hymn, and feels a troublous, vague yearning, deep 
down within him, which makes him for the moment doubt 
whether he had better knock down Ben at the end of the 

As to Harry, who stood also among the crowd, the 
words and tune recalled but too vividly the incidents of 
his morning s interview with Dred, and with it the tumul 
tuous boiling of his bitter controversy with the laws of the 
society in which he found himself. In hours of such high 
excitement, a man seems to have an intuitive perception of 
the whole extent and strength of what is within himself; 
and if there be anything unnatural or false in his position, 
he realizes it with double intensity. 

314 DEED 

Mr. John Gordon, likewise, gave himself up, without 
resistance, to be swayed by the feeling of the hour. He 
sang with enthusiasm, and wished he was a soldier of 
somebody, going somewhere, or a martyr shouting victory 
in the fire; and if the conflict described had been with 
any other foe than his own laziness and self-indulgence 
had there been any outward, tangible enemy at the mo 
ment he would doubtless have enlisted, without loss 
of time. 

When the hymn was finished, however, there was a 
general wiping of eyes, and they all sat down to listen to 
the sermon. Father Bonnie led off in an animated strain. 
His discourse was like the tropical swamp, bursting out 
with a lush abundance of every kind of growth grave, 
gay, grotesque, solemn, fanciful, and even coarse carica 
ture, provoking the broadest laughter. The audience were 
swayed by him like trees before the wind. There were 
not wanting touches of rude pathos as well as earnest 
appeals. The meeting was a union one of Presbyterians 
and Methodists, in which the ministers of both denomina 
tions took equal part; and it was an understood agreement 
among them, of course, that they were not to venture upon 
polemic ground, or attack each other s peculiarities of doc 
trine. But Abijah s favorite preacher could not get 
through a sermon without some quite pointed exposition 
of Scripture bearing on his favorite doctrine of election, 
which caused the next minister to run a vehement tilt on 
the correlative doctrines of free grace, with a eulogy on 
John Wesley. The auditors, meanw T hile, according to 
their respective sentiments, encouraged each preacher with 
a cry of "Amen!" "Glory be to God!" "Go on, bro 
ther ! " and other similar exclamations. 

About noon the services terminated, pro tern., and the 
audience dispersed themselves to their respective tents 
through the grove, where there was an abundance of chat- 


ting, visiting, eating, and drinking, as if the vehement 
denunciations and passionate appeals of the morning had 
been things of another state of existence. Uncle John, in 
the most cheery possible frame of mind, escorted his party 
into the woods, and assisted them in unpacking a hamper 
containing wine, cold fowls, cakes, pies, and other delica 
cies which Aunt Katy had packed for the occasion. 

Old Tiff had set up his tent in a snug little nook on the 
banks of the stream, where he informed passers-by that it 
was his young mas r and missis s establishment, and that 
he, Tiff, had come to wait on them. With a good-natured 
view of doing him a pleasure, Nina selected a spot for their 
nooning at no great distance, and spoke in the most gra 
cious and encouraging manner to them, from time to time. 

"See, now, can t you, how real quality behaves dem- 
selves ! " he said grimly to Old Hundred, who came up 
bringing the carriage-cushions for the party to sit down 
upon. "Real quality sees into things! I tell ye what, 
blood sees into blood. Miss Nina sees dese yer chil en 
ain t de common sort dat s what she does ! " 

"Umph!" said Old Hundred, "such a muss as ye keep 
up about yer chil en! Tell you what, dey ain t no better 
dan oder white trash ! " 

"Now, you talk dat ar way, I ll knock you down!" 
said Old Tiff, who, though a peaceable and law-abiding 
creature, in general, was driven, in desperation, to the last 
resort of force. 

"John, what are you saying to Tiff?" said Nina, who 
had overheard some of the last words. " Go back to your 
own tent, and don t you trouble him! I have taken him 
under my protection." 

The party enjoyed their dinner with infinite relish, and 
Nina amused herself in watching Tiff s cooking prepara 
tions. Before departing to the preaching-ground, he had 
arranged a slow fire, on which a savory stew had been all 

316 DEED 

the morning simmering, and which, on the taking off of 
the pot-lid, diffused an agreeable odor through the place. 

" I say, Tiff, how delightfully that smells ! said Nina, 
getting up, and looking into the pot. "Wouldn t Miss 
Fanny be so kind as to favor us with a taste of it 1 " 

Fanny, to whom Tiff punctiliously referred the question, 
gave a bashful consent. But who shall describe the pride 
and glory that swelled the heart of Tiff as he saw a bowl 
of his stew smoking among the Gordon viands, praised and 
patronized by the party 1 And when Nina placed on their 
simple board literally a board, and nothing more a 
small loaf of frosted cake, in exchange, it certainly required 
all the grace of the morning exercises to keep Tiff within 
due bounds of humility. He really seemed to dilate with 

" Tiff, how did you like the sermon 1 " said Nina. 

"Dey s pretty far, Miss Nina. Dere s a good deal o 
quality preaching." 

"What do you mean by quality preaching, Tiff?" 

"Why, dat ar kind dat s good for quality full of long 
words, you know. I spects it s very good; but poor 
nigger like me can t see his way through it. You see, Miss 
Nina, what I s studdin on, lately, is, how to get dese yer 
chiFen to Canaan; and I hars fus with one ear, and den 
with t oder, but pears like ain t clar bout it, yet. Dere s 
a heap about mose everything else, and it s all very good; 
but pears like I ain t clar, arter all, about dat ar. Dey 
says, * Come to Christ ; and I says, Whar is he, any 
how 1 ? Bress you, I want to come! Dey talks bout 
going in de gate, and knocking at de do , and bout march 
ing on de road, and bout fighting and being soldiers of de 
cross; and de Lord knows, now, I d be glad to get de 
chil en through any gate; and I could take em on my 
back and travel all day, if dere was any road; and if dere 
was a do , bless me, if dey wouldn t hear Old Tiff a-rap- 


ping! I spects de Lord would have fur to open it 
would so. But, arter all, when de preaching is done, dere 
don t pear to be nothing to it. Dere ain t no gate, dere 
ain t no do , nor no way; and dere ain t no fighting, cept 
when Ben Dakin and Jim Stokes get jawing about der 
dogs; and everybody comes back eating der dinner quite 
comf table, and pears like dere wa n t no such ting dey s 
been preaching bout. Dat ar troubles me does so 
cause I wants fur to get dese yer chil en in de kingdom, 
some way or oder. I didn t know but some of de quality 
would know more bout it." 

"Hang me, if I haven t felt just so! " said Uncle John. 
"When they were singing that hymn about enlisting and 
being a soldier, if there had been any fighting doing any 
where, I should have certainly gone right into it; and the 
preaching always stirs me up terribly. But then, as Tiff 
says, after it s all over, why, there s dinner to be eaten, 
and I can t see anything better than to eat it; and then, 
by the time I have drank two or three glasses of wine, 
it s all gone. Now, that s just the way with me! " 

"Dey says," said Tiff, "dat we must wait for de bless 
ing to come down upon us, and Aunt Rose says it s dem 
dat shouts dat gets de blessing; and I s been shouting till 
I s most beat out, but I has n t got it. Den, one of dem 
said none of dem could get it but de lect; but den, 
t oder one, he seemed to tink different; and in de meeting 
dey tells about de scales falling from der eyes, and I 
wished dey fall from mine I do so ! Perhaps, Miss 
Nina, now, you could tell me something." 

"Oh, don t ask me!" said Nina; "I don t know any 
thing about these things. I think I feel a little like Uncle 
John," she said, turning to Clayton. "There are two 
kinds of sermons and hymns; one gets me to sleep, and 
the other excites and stirs me up in a general kind of way; 
but they don t either seem to do me real good." 

318 DEED 

"For my part, I am such an enemy to stagnation," said 
Clayton, "that I think there is advantage in everything 
that stirs up the soul, even though we see no immediate 
results. I listen to music, see pictures, as far as I can, 
uncritically. I say, * Here I am ; see what you can do 
with me. So I present myself to almost all religious 
exercises. It is the most mysterious part of our nature. 
I do not pretend to understand it, therefore never criti 
cise. " 

"For my part," said Anne, "there is so much in the 
wild freedom of these meetings that shocks my taste and 
sense of propriety, that I am annoyed more than I am 

"There spoke the true, well-trained conventionalist," 
said Clayton. "But look around you. See, in this wood, 
among these flowers, and festoons of vine, and arches of 
green, how many shocking, unsightly growths! You 
would not have had all this underbrush, these dead limbs, 
these briers running riot over trees, and sometimes chok 
ing and killing them. You would have well-trimmed 
trees and velvet turf. But I love briers, dead limb s, and 
all, for their very savage freedom. Every once in a while 
you see in a wood a jessamine, or a sweet-brier, or a grape 
vine, that throws itself into a gracefulness of growth which 
a landscape gardener would go down on his knees for, 
but cannot get. Nature resolutely denies it to him. She 
says, No ! I keep this for my own. You won t have 
my wildness my freedom ; very well, then you shall not 
have the graces that spring from it. Just so it is with 
men. Unite any assembly of common men in a great en 
thusiasm, work them up into an abandon, and let every 
one let go, and speak as nature prompts, and you will 
have brush, underwood, briers, and all grotesque growths; 
but, now and then, some thought or sentiment will be 
struck out with a freedom or power such as you cannot get 


in any other way. You cultivated people are much mis 
taken when you despise the enthusiasms of the masses. 
There is more truth than you think in the old Vox populi, 
vox Dei." 

"What s that?" said Nina. 

" The voice of the people is the voice of God. There 
is truth in it. I never repent my share in a popular excite 
ment, provided it be of the higher sentiments; and I do 
not ask too strictly whether it has produced any tangible 
result. I reverence the people, as I do the woods, for the 
wild, grand freedom with which their humanity develops 

"I m afraid, Nina," said Aunt Nesbit, in a low tone, 
to the latter, "I m afraid he isn t orthodox." 

"What makes you think so, aunt? " 

"Oh, I don t know; his talk hasn t the real sound." 

"You want something that ends in ation, don t you, 
aunt ? justification, sanctification, or something of that 

Meanwhile, the department of Abijah Skinflint exhib 
ited a decided activity. This was a long, low booth, made 
of poles, and roofed with newly cut green boughs. Here 
the whiskey-barrel was continually pouring forth its sup 
plies to customers who crowded around it. Abijah sat on 
the middle of a sort of rude counter, dangling his legs, 
and chewing a straw, while his negro was busy in helping 
his various customers. Abijah, as we said, being a partic 
ularly high Calvinist, was recreating himself by carrying 
on a discussion with a fat, little, turnipy brother of the 
Methodist persuasion. 

"I say," he said, " Stringfellow put it into you Metho 
dists this morning ! Hit the nail on the head, I 

"Not a bit of it!" said the other contemptuously. 

320 DEED 

"Why, Elder Baskum chawed him up completely! There 
wa n t nothin left of him! " 

"Well," said Abijah, "strange how folks will see 
things! Why, it s just as clar to me that all things is 
decreed! Why, that ar nails everything up tight and 
handsome. It gives a fellow a kind of comfort to think 
on it. Things is just as they have got to be. All this 
free-grace stuff is drefful loose talk. If things is been 
decreed fore the world was made, well, there seems to be 
some sense in their coming to pass. But if everything 
kind of turns up whenever folks think on t, it s a kind of 
shaky business." 

"I don t like this tying up things so tight," said the 
other, who evidently was one of the free, jovial order. 
"I go in for the freedom of the will. Free gospel, and 
free grace." 

"For my part," said Abijah, rather grimly, "if things 
was managed my way, I shouldn t commune with nobody 
that didn t believe in election, up to the hub." 

"You strong electioners think you s among the elect! " 
said one of the bystanders. "You wouldn t be so crank 
about it, if you didn t! Now, see here: if everything is 
decreed, how am I going to help myself ? " 

"That ar is none of my lookout," said Abijah. "But 
there s a pint my mind rests upon everything is fixed 
as it can be, and it makes a man mighty easy." 

In another part of the camp-ground Ben Dakin was 
sitting in his tent- door, caressing one of his favorite dogs, 
and partaking his noontide repast with his wife and child. 

"I declar," said Ben, wiping his mouth, "wife, I in 
tend to go into it, and sarve the Lord, now, full chisel! 
If I catch the next lot of niggers, I intend to give half the 
money towards keeping up preaching somewhere round 
here. I m going to enlist, now, and be a soldier." 


"And," said his wife, "Ben, just keep clear of Abijah 
Skinflint s counter, won t you 1 ?" 

"Well, I will, durned if I won t!" said Ben. "I ll 
be moderate. A fellow wants a glass or two, to strike up 
the hymn on, you know; but I 11 be moderate." 

The- Georgia trader, who had encamped in the neighbor 
hood, now came up. 

"Do you believe, stranger," said he, "one of them 
durned niggers of mine broke loose and got in the swamps, 
while I was at meeting this morning! Couldn t you take 
your dog, here, and give em a run? I just gave nine 
hundred dollars for that fellow, cash down." 

" Ho ! what you going to him for ? " said Jim Stokes, a 
short, pursy, vulgar-looking individual, dressed in a hunt 
ing-shirt of blue Kentucky jean, who just then came up. 
"Why, durn ye, his dogs ain t no breed t all! Mine s 
the true grit, I can tell you; they s the true Florida blood 
hounds! I s seen one of them ar dogs shake a nigger in 
his mouth like he d been a sponge." 

Poor Ben s new-found religion could not withstand this 
sudden attack of his spiritual enemy ; and rousing himself, 
notwithstanding the appealing glances of his wife, he 
stripped up his sleeves, and squaring off, challenged his 
rival to a fight. 

A crowd gathered round, laughing and betting, and 
cheering on the combatants with slang oaths and expres 
sions such as we will not repeat, when the concourse was 
routed by the approach of Father Bonnie on the outside 
of the ring. 

"Look here, boys, what works of the devil have you 
got round here ? None of this on the camp-ground ! This 
is the Lord s ground, here; so shut up your swearing, and 
don t fight." 

A confused murmur of voices now began to explain to 
Father Bonnie the cause of the trouble. 

VOL. I. 

322 DEED 

"Ho, ho!" said he, "let the nigger run; you can catch 
him fast enough when the meetings are over. You come 
here to tend to your salvation. Ah, don t you be swear 
ing and blustering round! Come, boys, join in a hymn 
with me. " So saying he struck up a well-known air : 

" When Israel went to Jericho, 
good Lord, in my soul! " 

in which one after another joined, and the rising tumult 
was soon assuaged. 

"I say," said Father Bonnie to the trader, in an under 
tone, as he was walking away, "you got a good cook in 
your lot, hey 1 " 

"Got a prime one," said the trader; "an A number one 
cook, and no mistake ! Picked her up real cheap, and I 11 
let you have her for eight hundred dollars, being as you 
are a minister." 

" You must think the gospel a better trade than it is, " 
said Father Bonnie, "if you think a minister can afford to 
pay at that figure ! " 

"Why," said the trader, "you haven t seen her; it s 
dirt cheap for her, I can tell you! A sound, strong, 
hearty woman; a prudent, careful housekeeper; a real 
pious Methodist, a member of a class-meeting! Why, 
eight hundred dollars ain t anything! I ought to get a 
thousand for her; but I don t hear preaching for nothing, 
always think right to make a discount to ministers ! " 

"Why couldn t you bring her in? " said Father Bonnie. 
"Maybe I 11 give you seven hundred and fifty for her." 

" Could n t do that, noway ! " said the trader. " Could n t, 
indeed ! " 

"Well, after the meetings are over I 11 talk about it." 

"She s got a child, four years old," said the trader, 
with a little cough; "healthy, likely child; I suppose I 
shall want a hundred dollars for him ! " 

"Oh, that won t do!" said Father Bonnie. "I don t 


want any more children round my place than I ve got 
now ! " 

"But I tell you," said the trader, "it s a likely boy. 
Why, the keeping of him won t cost you anything, and 
before you think of it you 11 have a thousand-dollar hand 
grown on your own place." 

"Well," said Father Bonnie, "I 11 think of it! " 
In the evening the scene on the camp-ground was still 
more picturesque and impressive. Those who conduct 
camp- meetings are generally men who, without much rea 
soning upon the subject, fall into a sort of tact in influen 
cing masses of mind, and pressing into the service all the 
great life forces and influences of nature. A kind of rude 
poetry pervades their minds, colors their dialect, and influ 
ences their arrangements. The solemn and harmonious 
grandeur of night, with all its mysterious power of ex 
alting the passions and intensifying the emotions, has 
ever been appreciated, and used by them with even poetic 
skill. The day had been a glorious one in June; the 
sky of that firm, clear blue, the atmosphere of that crys 
talline clearness, which often gives to the American 
landscape such a sharply denned outline, and to the hu 
man system such an intense consciousness of life. The 
evening sun went down in a broad sea of light, and even 
after it had sunk below the purple horizon, flashed back 
a flood of tremulous rose-colored radiance, which, taken up 
by a thousand filmy clouds, made the whole sky above like 
a glowing tent of the most ethereal brightness. The sha 
dows of the forest aisles were pierced by the rose-colored 
rays; and as they gradually faded, star after star twinkled 
out, and a broad moon, ample and round, rose in the pur 
ple zone of the sky. When she had risen above the hori 
zon but a short space, her light was so resplendent and so 
profuse, that it was decided to conduct the evening service 
by that alone; and when, at the sound of the hymn, the 

324 DEED 

assembly poured in and arranged themselves before the 
preaching- stand, it is probable that the rudest heart present 
was somewhat impressed with the silent magnificence by 
which God was speaking to them through his works. As 
the hymn closed, Father Bonnie, advancing to the front of 
the stage, lifted his hands, and pointing to the purple sky, 
and in a deep and not unmelodious voice, repeated the 
words of the Psalmist : 

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firma 
ment showeth his handy-work; day unto day uttereth 
speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge." 

"Oh, ye sinners! " he exclaimed, "look up at the moon, 
there, walking in her brightness, and think over your 
oaths, and your cursings, and your drinkings! Think 
over your backbitings, and your cheatings ! think over your 
quarrelings and your fightings! How do they look to 
you now, with that blessed moon shining down upon you ? 
Don t you see the beauty of our Lord God upon her? 
Don t you see how the saints walk in white with the Lord, 
like her 1 I dare say some of you, now, have had a pious 
mother, or a pious wife, or a pious sister, that s gone to 
glory ? and there they are walking with the Lord ! walk 
ing with the Lord, through the sky, and looking down on 
you, sinners, just as that moon looks down! And what 
does she see you doing, your wife, or your mother, or 
sister, that s in glory 1 ? Does she see all your swearings, 
and your drinkings, and your fightings, and your hanker 
ings after money, and your horse-racings, and your cock- 
fightings ? Oh, sinners, but you are a bad set! I tell 
you the Lord is looking now down on you, out of that 
moon ! He is looking down in mercy ! But, I tell you, 
he ll look down quite another way, one of these days! 
Oh, there 11 be a time of wrath, by and by, if you don t 
repent! Oh, what a time there was at Sinai, years ago, 
when the voice of the trumpet waxed louder and louder, 


and the mountain was all of a smoke, and there were thun- 
derings and lightnings, and the Lord descended on Sinai! 
That s nothing to what you 11 see, by and by! No more 
moon looking down on you! No more stars, but the 
heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the 
elements shall melt with fervent heat ! Ah ! did you ever 
see a fire in the woods? I have; and I ve seen the fire 
on the prairies, and it rolled like a tempest, and men and 
horses and everything had to run before it. I have seen 
it roaring and crackling through the woods, and great trees 
shriveled in a minute like tinder! I have seen it flash 
over trees seventy-five and a hundred feet high, and in a 
minute they d be standing pillars of fire, and the heavens 
were all ablaze, and the crackling and roaring was like 
the sea in a storm. There s a judgment-day for you! 
Oh, sinner, what will become of you in that day 1 Never 
cry, Lord, Lord ! Too late too late, man ! You 
wouldn t take mercy when it was offered, and now you 
shall have wrath! No place to hide! The heavens and 
earth are passing away, and there shall be no more sea! 
There s no place for you now in God s universe." 

By this time there were tumultuous responses from the 
audience of groans, cries, clapping of hands, and mingled 
shouts of Glory and Amen. 

The electric shout of the multitude acted on the preacher 
again, as he went on, with a yet fiercer energy. "Now is 
your time, sinners! Now is your time! Come unto the 
altar, and God s people will pray for you! Now is the 
day of grace! Come up! Come up, you that have got 
pious fathers and mothers in glory! Come up, father! 
come up, mother ! come up, brother ! Come, young man ! 
we want you to come ! Ah, there s a hardened sinner, off 
there ! I see his lofty looks ! Come up, come up ! Come 
up, you rich sinners! You 11 be poor enough in the day 
of the Lord, I can tell you ! Come up, you young women ! 

326 DEED 

You daughters of Jerusalem, with your tinkling ornaments ! 
Come, saints of the Lord, and labor with me in prayer. 
Strike up a hymn, brethren, strike up the hymn ! " And 
a thousand voices commenced the hymn, 

" Stop, poor sinner, stop and think, 
Before you further go! " 

And, meanwhile, ministers and elders moved around the 
throng, entreating and urging one and another to come and 
kneel before the stand. Multitudes rushed forward, groans 
and sobs were heard, as the speaker continued, with redou 
bled vehemence. 

"I don t care," said Mr. John Gordon, "who sees me; 
I m going up ! I am a poor old sinner, and I ought to be 
prayed for, if anybody." 

Nina shrank back, and clung to Clayton s arm. So 
vehement was the surging feeling of the throng around her 
that she wept with a wild, tremulous excitement. 

"Do take me out, it s dreadful! " she said. 

Clayton passed his arm round her, and opening a way 
through the crowd, carried her out beyond the limits, 
where they stood together alone, under the tree. 

"I know I am not good as I ought to be," she said, 
"but I don t know how to be any better. Do you think 
it would do me any good to go up there 1 Do you believe 
in these things ? " 

"I sympathize with every effort that man makes to 
approach his Maker," said Clayton; "these ways do not 
suit me, but I dare not judge them. I cannot despise 
them. I must not make myself a rule for others." 

"But don t you think," said Nina, "that these things 
do harm sometimes 1 " 

" Alas, child, what form of religion does not 1 It is our 
fatality that everything that does good must do harm. 
It s the condition of our poor, imperfect life here." 

"I do not like these terrible threats," said Nina. "Can 


fear of fire make me love? Besides, I have a kind of 
courage in me that always rises up against a threat. It 
isn t my nature to fear. 7 

"If we may judge our Father by his voice in nature," 
said Clayton, "he deems severity a necessary part of our 
training. How inflexibly and terribly regular are all his 
laws! Fire and hail, snow and vapor, stormy wind, ful 
filling his word all these have a crushing regularity in 
their movements, which show that he is to be feared as 
well as loved." 

"But I want to be. religious," said Nina, "entirely apart 
from such considerations. Not driven by fear, but drawn 
by love. You can guide me about these things, for you 
are religious." 

"I fear I should not be accepted as such in any church," 
said Clayton. "It is my misfortune that I cannot receive 
any common form of faith, though I respect and sympa 
thize with all. Generally speaking, preaching only weakens 
my faith; and I have to forget the sermon in order to re 
cover my faith. I do not believe I know that our moral 
nature needs a thorough regeneration; and I believe this 
must come through Christ. This is all I am certain of." 

"I wish I were like Milly," said Nina. "She is a 
Christian, I know; but she has come to it by dreadful 
sorrows. Sometimes I m afraid to ask my heavenly 
Father to make me good, because I think it will come by 
dreadful trials, if he does." 

"And I," said Clayton, speaking with great earnestness, 
" would be willing to suffer anything conceivable, if I could 
only overcome all evil, and come up to my highest ideas 
of good." And as he spoke, he turned his face up to the 
moonlight with an earnest fervor of expression, that struck 
Nina deeply. 

"I almost shudder to hear you say so! You don t know 
what it may bring on you ! " 

328 DEED 

He looked at her with a beautiful smile, which was a 
peculiar expression of his face in moments of high excite 

"I say it again!" he said. "Whatever it involves, let 
it come ! " 

The exercises of the evening went on with a succession 
of addresses, varied by singing of hymns and prayers. In 
the latter part of the time many declared themselves con 
verts, and were shouting loudly. Father Bonnie came 

"Brethren," he shouted, "we are seeing a day from the 
Lord! We ve got a glorious time! Oh, brethren, let us 
sing glory to the Lord ! The Lord is coming among us ! " 

The excitement now became general. There was a 
confused sound of exhortation, prayers, and hymns, all 
mixed together, from different parts of the ground. But 
all of a sudden, every one was startled by a sound which 
seemed to come pealing down directly from the thick 
canopy of pines over the heads of the ministers. 

"Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! To 
what end shall it be for you ? The day of the Lord shall 
be darkness, and not light ! Blow ye the trumpet in Zion ! 
Sound an alarm in my holy mountain ! Let all the inhabi 
tants of the land tremble ! for the day of the Lord com- 

There was deep, sonorous power in the voice that spoke, 
and the words fell pealing down through the air like the 
vibrations of some mighty bell. Men looked confusedly 
on each other; but in the universal license of the hour, 
the obscurity of the night, and the multitude of the 
speakers, no one knew exactly whence it came. After a 
moment s pause, the singers were recommencing, when 
again the same deep voice was heard. 

"Take away from me the noise of thy songs, and the 


melody of thy viols; for I will not hear them, saith the 
Lord. I hate and despise your feast-days! I will not 
smell in your solemn assemblies ; for your hands are denied 
with blood, and your fingers are greedy for violence ! Will 
ye kill, and steal, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, 
and come and stand before me, saith the Lord 1 Ye oppress 
the poor and needy, and hunt the stranger; also in thy 
skirts is found the blood of poor innocents! and yet ye 
say, Because I am clean shall his anger pass from me! 
Hear this, ye that swallow up the needy, and make the 
poor of the land to fail, saying, When will the new moon 
be gone, that we may sell corn? that we may buy the poor 
for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes 1 The Lord 
hath sworn, saying, I will never forget their works. I 
will surely visit you ! " 

The audience, thus taken, in the obscurity of the even 
ing, by an unknown speaker, whose words seemed to fall 
apparently from the clouds, in a voice of such strange and 
singular quality, began to feel a creeping awe stealing over 
them. The high state of electrical excitement under which 
they had been going on, predisposed them to a sort of 
revulsion of terror; and a vague, mysterious panic crept 
upon them, as the boding, mournful voice continued to 
peal from the trees. 

"Hear, oh ye rebellious people! The Lord is against 
this nation! The Lord shall stretch out upon it the line 
of confusion, and the stones of emptiness! For thou 
saidst, I will ascend into the stars ; I will be as God ! But 
thou shalt be cast out as an abominable branch, and the 
wild beasts shall tread thee down! Howl, fir-tree, for thou 
art spoiled! Open thy doors, Lebanon, that the fire 
may devour thy cedars! for the Lord cometh out of his 
place to punish the inhabitants of the land! The Lord 
shall utter his voice before his army, for his camp is very 
great ! Multitudes ! multitudes ! in the valley of decision ! 

330 DEED 

For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision ! 
The sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars with 
draw their shining; for the Lord shall utter his voice from 
Jerusalem, and the heavens and earth shall shake! In 
that day I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and 
darken the whole earth ! And I will turn your feasts into 
mourning, and your songs into lamentation ! Woe to the 
bloody city ! It is full of lies and robbery ! The noise of 
a whip ! the noise of the rattling of wheels ! of the 
prancing horses, and the jumping chariot! The horseman 
lifteth up the sword and glittering spear! and there is a 
multitude of slain ! There is no end of their corpses ! 
They are stumbling upon the corpses ! For, Behold, I am 
against thee, saith the Lord, and I will make thee utterly 
desolate ! 

There was a fierce, wailing earnestness in the sound of 
these dreadful words, as if they were uttered in a paroxysm 
of affright and horror, by one who stood face to face with 
some tremendous form. And when the sound ceased, 
men drew in their breath, and looked on each other, and 
the crowd began slowly to disperse, whispering in low 
voices to each other. So extremely piercing and so wildly 
earnest had the voice been, that it actually seemed, in the 
expressive words of Scripture, to make every ear to tingle. 
And as people of rude and primitive habits are always 
predisposed to superstition, there crept through the differ 
ent groups wild legends of prophets strangely commissioned 
to announce coming misfortunes. Some spoke of the pre 
dictions of the judgment-day ; some talked of comets, and 
strange signs that had preceded wars and pestilences. The 
ministers wondered, and searched around the stand in vain. 
One auditor alone could, had he desired it, make an expla 
nation. Harry, who stood near the stand, had recognized 
the voice. But though he searched, also, around, he 
could find no one. 


He who spoke was one whose savage familiarity with 
nature gave him the agility and stealthy adroitness of a 
wild animal. And during the stir and commotion of the 
dispersing audience, he had silently made his way from 
tree to tree, over the very heads of those who were yet 
wondering at his strange, boding words, till at last he 
descended in a distant part of the forest. 

After the service, as Father Dickson was preparing to 
retire to his tent, a man pulled him by the sleeve. It 
was the Georgia trader. 

"We have had an awful time, to-night! " said he, look 
ing actually pale with terror. "Do you think the judg 
ment-day really is coming 1 " 

" My friend, " said Father Dickson, " it surely is ! Every 
step we take in life is leading us directly to the judgment- 
seat of Christ ! " 

"Well," said the trader, "but do you think that was 
from the Lord, the last one that spoke? Durned if he 
didn t say awful things! nough to make the hair rise! 
I tell you what, I ve often had doubts about my trade. 
The ministers may prove it s all right out of the Old Tes 
tament; but I m durned if I think they know all the 
things that we do! But then, I ain t so bad as some of 
em. But now, I ve got a gal out in my gang that s 
dreadful sick, and I partly promised her I d bring a minis 
ter to see her." 

"I ll go with you, friend," said Father Dickson; and 
forthwith he began following the trader to the racks where 
their horses were tied. Selecting, out of some hundred 
who were tied there, their own beasts, the two midnight 
travelers soon found themselves trotting along under the 
shadow of the forest s boughs. 

"My friend," said Father Dickson, "I feel bound in 
conscience to tell you that I think your trade a ruinous 
one to your soul. I hope you 11 lay to heart the solemn 

332 DEED 

warning you ve heard to-night. Why, your own sense 
can show you that a trade can t be right that you d be 
afraid to be found in if the great judgment-day were at 

"Well, I rather spect you speak the truth; but then, 
what makes Father Bonnie stand up for t? " 

"My friend, I must say that I think Father Bonnie 
upholds a soul-destroying error. I must say that, as con 
science-bound. I pray the Lord for him and you both. I 
put it right to your conscience, my friend, whether you 
think you could keep to your trade, and live a Christian 

"No; the fact is, it s a d d bad business, that s just 
where tis. We ain t fit to be trusted with such things 
that come to us gals and women. Well, I feel pretty 
bad, I tell you, to-night; cause I know I haven t done 
right by this yer gal. I ought fur to have let her alone ; 
but then, the devil or something possessed me. And now 
she has got a fever, and screeches awfully. I declar, some 
things she says go right through me ! " 

Father Dickson groaned in spirit over this account, and 
felt himself almost guilty for belonging ostensibly and out 
wardly to a church which tolerated such evils. He rode 
along by the side of his companion, breaking forth into 
occasional ejaculations and snatches of hymns. After a 
ride of about an hour, they arrived at the encampment. 
A large fire had been made in a cleared spot, and smoul 
dering fragments and brands were lying among the white 
ashes. One or two horses were tied to a neighboring tree, 
and wagons were drawn up by them. Around the fire, in 
different groups, lay about fifteen men and women, with 
heavy iron shackles on their feet, asleep in the moonlight. 
At a little distance from the group, and near to one of the 
wagons, a blanket was spread down on the ground under 
a tree, on which lay a young girl of seventeen, tossing and 


moaning in a disturbed stupor. A respectable-looking 
mulatto woman was sitting beside her, with a gourd full 
of water, with which from time to time she moistened her 
forehead. The woman rose as the trader came up. 

"Well, Nance, how does she do now 1 ? " said the trader. 

"Mis able enough! " said Nance. "She done been toss 
ing, a-throwing round, and crying for her mammy, ever 
since you went away ! " 

"Well, I ve brought the minister," said he. "Try, 
Nance, to wake her up; she 11 be glad to see him." 

The woman knelt down, and took the hand of the 

" Emily ! Emily ! " she said, " wake up ! " 

The girl threw herself over with a sudden, restless toss. 
" Oh, how my head burns ! Oh, dear ! Oh, my mother ! 
Mother ! mother ! mother ! why don t you come to 

Father Dickson approached and knelt the other side of 
her. The mulatto woman made another effort to bring 
her to consciousness. 

"Emily, here s the minister you was wanting so much! 
Emily, wake up ! " 

The girl slowly opened her eyes large, tremulous, 
dark eyes. She drew her hand across them, as if to clear 
her sight, and looked wistfully at the woman. 

" Minister ! minister ! " she said. 

"Yes, minister! You said you wanted to see one." 

" Oh yes, I did ! " she said heavily. 

"My daughter!" said Father Dickson, "you are very 

"Yes!" she said, "very! And I m glad of it! I m 
going to die! I m glad of that, too! That s all I ve 
got left to be glad of ! But I wanted to ask you to write 
to my mother. She is a free woman; she lives in New 
York. I want you to give my love to her, and tell her 

334 DEED 

not to worry any more. Tell her I tried all I could to 
get to her; but they took us, and mistress was so angry 
she sold me! I forgive her, too. I don t bear her any 
malice, cause it s all over, now ! She used to say I was 
a wild girl, and laughed too loud. I sha n t trouble any 
one that way any more! So that s no matter! " 

The girl spoke these sentences at long intervals, occa 
sionally opening her eyes and closing them again in a 
languid manner. Father Dickson, however, who had 
some knowledge of medicine, placed his finger on her 
pulse, which was rapidly sinking. It is the usual instinct, 
in all such cases, to think of means of prolonging life. 
Father Dickson rose, and said to the trader : 

" Unless some stimulant be given her, she will be gone 
very soon ! " 

The trader produced from his pocket a flask of brandy, 
which he mixed with a little water in a cup, and placed it 
in Father Dickson s hand. He kneeled down again, and 
calling her by name, tried to make her take some. 

"What is it?" said she, opening her wild, glittering 

"It s something to make you feel better." 

"I don t want to feel better! I want to die! " she said, 
throwing herself over. "What should I want to live for? " 

What should she? The words struck Father Dickson 
so much that he sat for a while in silence. He meditated 
in his mind how he could reach, with any words, that 
dying ear, or enter with her into that land of trance and 
mist, into whose cloudy circle the soul seemed already to 
have passed. Guided by a subtle instinct, he seated him 
self by the dying girl, and began singing, in a subdued, 
plaintive air, the following well-known hymn : 

" Hark, my soul ! it is the Lord, 
T is thv Saviour, hear his word; 
Jesus speaks he speaks to thee! 
Say, poor sinner, lov st thou me ? " 


The melody is one often sung among the negroes; and 
one which, from its tenderness and pathos, is JL favorite 
among them. As oil will find its way into crevices where 
water cannot penetrate, so song will find its way where 
speech can no longer enter. The moon shone full on the 
face of the dying girl, only interrupted by flickering sha 
dows of leaves; and as Father Dickson sang, he fancied 
he saw a slight, tremulous movement of the face, as if the 
soul, so worn and weary, were upborne on the tender 
pinions of the song. He went on singing : 

" Can a mother s tender care 
Cease toward the child she bare ? 
Yes, she may forgetful be : 
Still will I remember thee." 

By the light of the moon, he saw a tear steal from 
under the long lashes, and course slowly down her cheek. 
He continued his song : 

" Mine is an eternal love, 
Higher than the heights above, 
Deeper than the depths beneath, 
True and faithful strong as death. 

"Thou shalt see my glorv soon, 
When the work of faith is done ; 
Partner of my throne shalt be ! 
Say, poor sinner, lov st thou me ? " 

Oh, love of Christ! which no sin can weary, which no 
lapse of time can change; from which tribulation, perse 
cution, and distress cannot separate all-redeeming, all- 
glorifying, changing even death and despair to the gate of 
heaven ! Thou hast one more triumph here in the wilder 
ness, in the slave-coffle, and thou comest to bind up the 
broken hearted. 

As the song ceased, she opened her eyes. 

"Mother used to sing that! " she said. 

" And can you believe in it, daughter 1 " 

"Yes," she said, "I see Him now! He loves me! 
Let me go ! " 

336 DEED 

There followed a few moments of those strugglings and 
shiverings which are the birth-pangs of another life, and 
Emily lay at rest. 

Father Dickson, kneeling by her side, poured out the 
fullness of his heart in an earnest prayer. Rising, he went 
up to the trader, and taking his hand, said to him, 

"My friend, this may be the turning-point with your 
soul for eternity. It has pleased the Lord to show you 
the evil of your ways; and now my advice to you is, 
break off your sins at once, and do works meet for repent 
ance. Take off the shackles of these poor creatures, and 
tell them they are at liberty to go." 

"Why, bless your soul, sir, this yer lot s worth ten 
thousand dollars ! " said the trader, who was not prepared 
for so close a practical application. 

Do not be too sure, friend, that the trader is peculiar 
in this. The very same argument, though less frankly 
stated, holds in the bonds of Satan many extremely well- 
bred, refined, respectable men, who would gladly save 
their souls if they could afford the luxury. 

"My friend," said Father Dickson, using the words of 
a very close and uncompromising preacher of old, "what 
shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, 
and lose his own soul ? " 

"I know that," said the trader doubtfully; "but it s 
a very hard case, this. I 11 think about it, though. But 
there s Father Bonnie wants to buy Nance. It would be 
a pity to disappoint him. But I 11 think it over." 

Father Dickson returned to the camp-ground between 
one and two o clock at night, and putting away his horse, 
took his way to the ministers tent. Here he found Father 
Bonnie standing out in the moonlight. He had been 
asleep within the tent; but it is to be confessed that the 
interior of a crowded tent on a camp-ground is anything 
but favorable to repose. He therefore came out into the 


fresh air, and was there when Father Dickson came back 
to enter the tent. 

"Well, brother, where have you been so late?" said 
Father Bonnie. 

"I have been looking for a few sheep in the wilderness, 
whom everybody neglects," said Father Dickson. And 
then, in a tone tremulous from agitation, he related to him 
the scene he had just witnessed. 

"Do you see," he said, "brother, what iniquities you 
are countenancing? Now here, right next to our camp, 
a slave-coffle encamped! Men and women, guilty of no 
crime, driven in fetters through our land, shaming us in 
the sight of every Christian nation! What horrible, 
abominable iniquities are these poor traders tempted to 
commit! What perfect hells are the great trading-houses, 
where men, women, and children are made merchandise 
of, and where no light of the gospel ever enters! And 
when this poor trader is convicted of sin, and wants to 
enter into the kingdom, you stand there to apologize for 
his sins ! Brother Bonnie, I much fear you are the stum 
bling-block over which souls will stumble into hell. I 
don t think you believe your argument from the Old Testa 
ment, yourself. You must see that it has no kind of rela 
tion to such kind of slavery as we have in this country. 
There s an awful Scripture which saith: He feedeth on 
ashes ; a deceived heart hath turned him aside, so that he 
cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my 
right hand 1 " 

The earnestness with which Father Dickson spoke, com 
bined with the reverence commonly entertained for his 
piety, gave great force to his words. The reader will not 
therefore wonder to hear that Father Bonnie, impulsive 
and easily moved as he was, wept at the account, and was 
moved by the exhortation. Nor will he be surprised to 

VOL. I. 

338 DEED 

learn that, two weeks after, Father Bonnie drove a hrisk 
bargain with the same trader for three new hands. 

The trader had discovered that the judgment-day was 
not coming yet a while ; and Father Bonnie satisfied him 
self that Noah, when he awoke from his wine, said, 
"Cursed be Canaan." 

We have one scene more to draw before we dismiss the 
auditors of the camp-meeting. 

At a late hour the Gordon carriage was winding its way 
under the silent, checkered, woodland path. Harry, who 
came slowly on a horse behind, felt a hand laid on his 
bridle. With a sudden start, he stopped. "Oh, Dred, is 
it you ? How dared you how could you be so impru 
dent? How dared you come here, when you know you 
risk your life 1 " 

"Life! " said the other, "what is life? He that loveth 
his life shall lose it. Besides, the Lord said unto me, 
Go ! The Lord is with me as a mighty and terrible one ! 
Harry, did you mark those men? Hunters of men, their 
hands red with the blood of the poor, all seeking unto the 
Lord! Ministers who buy and sell us! Is this a people 
prepared for the Lord ? I left a man dead in the swamps, 
whom their dogs have torn ! His wife is a widow his 
children, orphans! They eat and wipe their mouth, and 
say, What have I done ? The temple of the Lord, the 
temple of the Lord, are we ! " 

"I know it," said Harry gloomily. 

"And you join yourself unto them? " 

"Don t speak to me any more about that! I won t 
betray you, but I won t consent to have blood shed. My 
mistress is my sister." 

"Oh yes, to be sure! They read Scripture, don t 
they ? Cast out the children of the bondwoman ! That s 
Scripture for them ! " 


"Died," said Harry, "I love her better than I love 
myself. I will fight for her to the last, but never against 
her, nor hers ! " 

" And you will serve Tom Gordon ? " said Dred. 

" Never ! " said Harry. 

Dred stood still a moment. Through an opening among 
the branches the moonbeams streamed down on his wild, 
dark figure. Harry remarked his eye fixed before him on 
vacancy, the pupil swelling out in glassy fullness, with a 
fixed, somnambulic stare. After a moment, he spoke, in 
a hollow, altered voice, like that of a sleep-walker : 

"Then shall the silver cord be loosed, and the golden 
bowl be broken. Yes, cover up the grave cover it up ! 
Now, hurry ! come to me, or he will take thy wife for a 
prey ! " 

"Dred, what do you mean?" said Harry. "What s 
the matter ? " He shook him by the shoulder. 

Dred rubbed his eyes, and stared on Harry. 

"I must go back," he said, "to my den. Foxes have 
holes, the birds of the air have nests, and in the habita 
tion of dragons the Lord hath opened a way for his out 

He plunged into the thickets, and was gone. 



OUR readers will perhaps feel an interest to turn back 
with us, and follow the singular wanderings of the myste 
rious personage, whose wild denunciations had so disturbed 
the minds of the worshipers at the camp-meeting. 

There is a twilight-ground between the boundaries of 
the sane and insane, which the old Greeks and Romans 
regarded with a peculiar veneration. They held a person 
whose faculties were thus darkened as walking under the 
awful shadow of a supernatural presence; and as the mys 
terious secrets of the stars only become visible in the 
night, so in these eclipses of the more material faculties 
they held there was often an awakening of supernatural 

The hot and positive light of our modern material 
ism, which exhales from the growth of our existence 
every dewdrop, which searches out and dries every rivulet 
of romance, which sends an unsparing beam into every 
cool grotto of poetic possibility, withering the moss, and 
turning the dropping cave to a dusty den this spirit, 
so remorseless, allows us no such indefinite land. There 
are but two words in the whole department of modern 
anthropology the sane and the insane ; the latter dis 
missed from human reckoning almost with contempt. We 
should find it difficult to give a suitable name to the 
strange and abnormal condition in which this singular 
being, of whom we are speaking, passed the most of his 
time. It was a state of exaltation and trance, which yet 


appeared not at all to impede the exercise of his outward 
and physical faculties, but rather to give them a preter 
natural keenness and intensity, such as sometimes attends 
the more completely developed phenomena of somnambu 

In regard to his physical system there was also much 
that was peculiar. Our readers may imagine a human 
body of the largest and keenest vitality to grow up so 
completely under the nursing influences of nature, that it 
may seem to be as perfectly en rapport with them as a 
tree; so that the rain, the wind, and the thunder, all 
those forces from which human beings generally seek 
shelter, seem to hold with it a kind of fellowship, and to 
be familiar companions of existence. 

Such was the case with Dred. So completely had he 
come into sympathy and communion with nature, and with 
those forms of it which more particularly surrounded him 
in the swamps, that he moved about among them with as 
much ease as a lady treads her Turkey carpet. What 
would seem to us in recital to be incredible hardship was 
to him but an ordinary condition of existence. To walk 
knee-deep in the spongy soil of the swamp, to force his 
way through thickets, to lie all night sinking in the porous 
soil, or to crouch, like the alligator, among reeds and 
rushes, were to him situations of as much comfort as well- 
curtained beds and pillows are to us. 

It is not to be denied, that there is in this savage per 
fection of the natural organs a keen and almost fierce 
delight, which must excel the softest seductions of luxury. 
Anybody who has ever watched the eager zest with which 
the hunting- dog plunges through the woods, darts through 
the thicket, or dives into water, in an ecstasy of enjoy 
ment, sees something of what such vital force must be. 

Dred was under the inspiring belief that he was the 
subject of visions and supernatural communications. The 

342 DEED 

African race are said by mesmerists to possess, in the fullest 
degree, that peculiar temperament which fits them for the 
evolution of mesmeric phenomena; and hence the existence 
among them, to this day, of men and women who are sup 
posed to have peculiar magical powers. The grandfather 
of Dred, on his mother s side, had been one of these 
reputed African sorcerers, and he had early discovered in 
the boy this peculiar species of temperament. He had 
taught him the secret of snake-charming, and had possessed 
his mind from childhood with expectations of prophetic 
and supernatural impulses. That mysterious and singular 
gift, whatever it may be, which Highland seers denomi 
nate second sight, is a very common tradition among the 
negroes; and there are not wanting thousands of reputed 
instances among them to confirm belief in it. What this 
faculty may be, we shall not pretend to say. Whether 
there be in the soul a yet undeveloped attribute, which is 
to be to the future what memory is to the past, or whether 
in some individuals an extremely high and perfect condi 
tion of the sensuous organization endows them with some 
thing of that certainty of instinctive discrimination which 
belongs to animals, are things which we shall not venture 
to decide upon. 

It was, however, an absolute fact with regard to Dred, 
that he had often escaped danger by means of a peculiarity 
of this kind. He had been warned from particular places 
where the hunters had lain in wait for him; had foreseen 
in times of want where game might be ensnared, and 
received intimations where persons were to be found in 
whom he might safely confide; and his predictions with 
regard to persons and things had often chanced to be so 
strikingly true, as to invest his sayings with a singular 
awe and importance among his associates. 

It was a remarkable fact, but one not peculiar to this 
case alone, that the mysterious exaltation of mind in this 


individual seemed to run parallel with the current of 
shrewd, practical sense; and like a man who converses 
alternately in two languages, he would speak now the 
language of exaltation, and now that of common life, inter 
changeably. This peculiarity imparted a singular and 
grotesque effect to his whole personality. 

On the night of the camp- meeting, he was, as we have 
already seen, in a state of the highest ecstasy. The wanton 
murder of his associate seemed to flood his soul with an 
awful tide of emotion, as a thundercloud is filled and 
shaken by slow-gathering electricity. And although the 
distance from his retreat to the camp-ground was nearly 
fifteen miles, most of it through what seemed to be impas 
sable swamps, yet he performed it with as little conscious 
ness of fatigue as if he had been a spirit. Even had he 
been perceived at that time, it is probable that he could 
no more have been taken, or bound, than the demoniac of 

After he parted from Harry he pursued his way to the 
interior of the swamp, as was his usual habit, repeating to 
himself, in a chanting voice, such words of prophetic writ 
as were familiar to him. 

The day had been sultry, and it was now an hour or two 
past midnight, when a thunderstorm, which had long 
been gathering and muttering in the distant sky, began to 
develop its forces. A low, shivering sigh crept through 
the woods, and swayed in weird whistlings the tops of the 
pines; and sharp arrows of lightning came glittering down 
among the darkness of the branches, as if sent from the 
bow of some warlike angel. An army of heavy clouds 
swept in a moment across the moon; then came a broad, 
dazzling, blinding sheet of flame, concentrating itself on 
the top of a tall pine near where Dred was standing, and 
in a moment shivered all its branches to the ground, as a 
child strips the leaves from a twig. Dred clapped his 

344 DEED 

hands with a fierce delight; and while the rain and 
wind were howling and hissing around him, he shouted 
aloud : 

"Wake, arm of the Lord! Awake, put on thy 
strength! The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars 
yea, the cedars of Lebanon ! The voice of the Lord divid- 
eth the flames of fire ! The voice of the Lord shaketh the 
wilderness of Kadesh ! Hailstones and coals of fire ! " 

The storm, which howled around him, bent the forest 
like a reed, and large trees, uprooted from the spongy and 
tremulous soil, fell crashing with a tremendous noise; but 
as if he had been a dark spirit of the tempest, he shouted 
and exulted. 

The perception of such awful power seemed to animate 
him, and yet to excite in his soul an impatience that He 
whose power was so infinite did not awake to judgment. 

"Rend the heavens," he cried, "and come down! 
Avenge the innocent blood! Cast forth thine arrows, and 
slay them ! Shoot out thy lightnings, and destroy them ! " 

His soul seemed to kindle with almost a fierce impa 
tience, at the toleration of that Almighty Being, who, 
having the power to blast and to burn, so silently endures. 
Could Dred have possessed himself of those lightnings, 
what would have stood before him ? But his cry, like the 
cry of thousands, only went up to stand in waiting till an 
awful coming day ! 

Gradually the storm passed by; the big drops dashed 
less and less frequently; a softer breeze passed through the 
forest, with a patter like the clapping of a thousand little 
wings; and the moon occasionally looked over the silvery 
battlements of the great clouds. 

As Dred was starting to go forward, one of these clear 
revealings showed him the cowering form of a man, 
crouched at the root of a tree, a few paces in front of him. 
He was evidently a fugitive, and, in fact, was the one of 


whose escape to the swamps the Georgia trader had com 
plained of the day of the meeting. 

"Who is here, at this time of night?" said Dred, com 
ing up to him. 

"I have lost my way," said the other. "I don t know 
where I am ! " 

"A runaway? " inquired Dred. 

"Don t betray me! " said the other apprehensively. 

" Betray you ! Would I do that 1 " said Dred. " How 
did you get into the swamp 1 " 

"I got away from a soul-driver s camp, that was taking 
us on through the states." 

"Oh, oh!" said Dred. "Camp-meeting and driver s 
camp right alongside of each other! Shepherds that sell 
the flock, and pick the bones! Well, come, old man; I 11 
take you home with me." 

"I m pretty much beat out," said the man. "It s 
been up over my knees every step; and I didn t know but 
they d set the dogs after me. If they do, I 11 let em 
kill me, and done with it, for I m bout ready to have it 
over with. I got free once, and got clear up to New 
York, and got me a little bit of a house, and a wife and 
two children, with a little money beforehand; and then 
they nabbed me, and sent me back again, and mas r sold 
rne to the drivers, and I believe I s bout as good s die. 
There s no use in trying to live everything going agin 
a body so ! " 

"Die! No, indeed, you won t," said Dred; "not if 
I ve got hold of you! Take heart, man, take heart! Be 
fore morning I 11 put you where the dogs can t find you, 
nor anything else. Come, up with you ! " 

The man rose up, and made an effort to follow; but 
wearied, and unused as he was to the choked and per 
plexed way, he stumbled and fell almost every minute. 

"How now, brother?" said Dred. "This won t do! 

346 DEED 

I must put you over my shoulder as I have many a buck 
before now ! " And suiting the action to the word, he 
put the man on his back, and bidding him hold fast to 
him, went on, picking his way as if he scarcely perceived 
his weight. 

It was now between two and three o clock, and the 
clouds, gradually dispersing, allowed the full light of the 
moon to slide down here and there through the wet and 
shivering foliage. No sound was heard, save the hum 
ming of insects and the crackling plunges by which Dred 
made his way forward. 

" You must be pretty strong ! " said his companion. 
"Have you been in the swamps long? " 

"Yes," said the other, "I have been a wild man 
every man s hand against me a companion of the dragons 
and the owls, this many a year. I have made my bed 
with the leviathan, among the reeds and the rushes. I 
have found the alligators and the snakes better neighbors 
than Christians. They let those alone that let them alone; 
but Christians will hunt for the precious life." 

After about an hour of steady traveling, Dred arrived at 
the outskirts of the island which we have described. For 
about twenty paces before he reached it, he waded waist- 
deep in water. Creeping out, at last, and telling the other 
one to follow him, he began carefully coursing along on his 
hands and knees, giving, at the same time, a long, shrill, 
peculiar whistle. It was responded to by a similar sound, 
which seemed to proceed through the bushes. After a 
while, a crackling noise was heard, as of some animal, 
which gradually seemed to come nearer and nearer to them, 
till finally a large water-dog emerged from the underbrush, 
and began testifying his joy at the arrival of the new 
comer, by most extravagant gambols. 

"So, ho! Buck! quiet, my boy!" said Dred. "Show 
us the way in ! " 


The dog, as if understanding the words, immediately 
turned into the thicket, and Dred and his companion fol 
lowed him, on their hands and knees. The path wound 
up and down the brushwood, through many sharp turn 
ings, till at last it ceased altogether, at the roots of a tree ; 
and while the dog disappeared among the brushwood, 
Dred climbed the tree, and directed his companion to fol 
low him, and proceeding out on to one of the longest 
limbs, he sprang nimbly on to the ground in the cleared 
space which we have before described. 

His wife was standing waiting for him, and threw her 
self upon him with a cry of joy. "Oh, you ve come 
back! I thought, sure enough, dey d got you dis time! " 

"Not yet! I must continue till the opening of the 
seals till the vision cometh ! Have ye buried him ? " 

"No; there s a grave dug down yonder, and he s been 
carried there." 

"Come, then!" said Dred. 

At a distant part of the clearing was a blasted cedar- 
tree, all whose natural foliage had perished. But it was 
veiled from head to foot in long wreaths of the tillandsia, 
the parasitic moss of these regions, and in the dim light 
of the approaching dawn, might have formed no unapt 
resemblance to a gigantic spectre dressed in mourning 
weeds. Beneath this tree Dred had interred, from time 
to time, the bodies of fugitives which he had found dead 
in the swamps, attaching to this disposition of them some 
peculiar superstitious idea. 

The widow of the dead, the wife of Dred, and the new 
comer were now gathered around the shallow grave; for 
the soil was such as scarcely gave room to make a place 
deep enough for a grave without its becoming filled with 
water. The dawn was just commencing a dim foreshadow 
ing in the sky. The moon and stars were still shining. 
Dred stood and looked up, and spoke in a solemn voice : 

348 DEED 

" Seek him that maketh Arcturus and Orion that 
turneth the shadow of death into morning ! Behold those 
lights in the sky the lights in his hands pierced for the 
sins of the world, and spread forth as on a cross! But 
the day shall come that he shall lay down the yoke, and 
he will bear the sin of the world no longer. Then shall 
come the great judgment. He will lay righteousness to 
the line and judgment to the plummet, and the hail shall 
sweep away the refuges of lies." 

He stooped, and lifting the body, laid him in the 
grave, and at this moment the wife broke into a loud 

"Hush, woman!" said Dred, raising his hand. "Weep 
ye not for the dead, neither bewail him; but weep ye sore 
for the living ! He must rest till the rest of his brethren 
be killed; for the vision is sealed up for an appointed 
time. If it tarry, wait for it. It shall surely come, and 
shall not tarry ! " 



A GLORIOUS morning, washed by the tears of last 
night s shower, rose like a bride upon Canema. The rain 
drops sparkled and winked from leaf to leaf, or fell in 
showery diamonds in the breeze. The breath of number 
less roses, now in full bloom, rose in clouds to the win 
dows. The breakfast- table, with its clean damask, glitter 
ing silver, and fragrant coffee, received the last evening s 
participants of the camp-meeting in fresh morning spirits, 
ready to discuss, as an every-day affair, what, the evening 
before, they had felt too deeply, perhaps, to discuss. 

On the way home, they had spoken of the scenes of the 
day, and wondered and speculated on the singular incident 
which closed it. But of all the dark circle of woe and 
crime, of all that valley of vision which was present to 
the mind of him who spoke, they were as practically 
ignorant as the dwellers of the curtained boudoirs of New 
York are of the fearful mysteries of the Five Points. 

The aristocratic nature of society at the South so com 
pletely segregates people of a certain position in life from 
any acquaintance with the movements of human nature in 
circles below them, that the most fearful things may be 
transacting in their vicinity unknown or unnoticed. The 
horrors and sorrows of the slave-coffle were a sealed book 
to Nina and Anne Clayton. They had scarcely dreamed 
of them; and Uncle John, if he knew their existence, 
took very good care to keep out of their way, as he would 
turn from any other painful and disagreeable scene. 

350 DEED 

All of them had heard something of negro-hunters, and 
regarded them as low, vulgar people, but troubled their 
heads little further on the subject; so that they would 
have been quite at a loss for the discovery of any national 
sins that could have appropriately drawn down the denun 
ciations of Heaven. 

The serious thoughts and aspirations which might have 
risen in any of the company, the evening before, assumed, 
with everything else, quite another light under the rays of 

All of us must have had experience, in our own histo 
ries, of the great difference between the night and the 
morning view of the same subject. What we have thought 
and said in the august presence of witnessing stars, or 
beneath the holy shadows of moonlight, seems with the 
hot, dry light of next day s sun to take wings, and rise to 
heaven with the night s clear drops. If all the prayers 
and good resolutions which are laid down on sleeping pil 
lows could be found there on awaking, the world would be 
better than it is. 

Of this Uncle John Gordon had experience, as he sat 
himself down at the breakfast-table. The night before, he 
realized, in some dim wise, that he, Mr. John Gordon, 
was not merely a fat, elderly gentleman, in blue coat and 
white vest, whose great object in existence was to eat well, 
drink well, sleep well, wear clean linen, and keep out of 
the way of trouble. He had within him a tumult of 
yearnings and aspirings, uprisings of that great, life 
long sleeper, which we call soul, and which, when it 
wakes, is an awfully clamorous, craving, exacting, trouble 
some inmate, and which is therefore generally put asleep 
again in the shortest time, by whatever opiates may come 
to hand. Last night, urged on by this troublesome guest, 
stimulated by the vague power of such awful words as 
judgment and eternity, he had gone out and knelt down 


as a mourner for sin and a seeker for salvation, both words 
standing for very real and awful facts; and this morning, 
although it was probably a more sensible and appropriate 
thing than most of the things he was in the habit of doing, 
he was almost ashamed of it. The question arose, at 
table, whether another excursion should be made to the 

"For my part," said Aunt Maria, "I hope you ll not 
go again, Mr. Gordon. I think you had better keep out 
of the way of such things. I really was vexed to see you 
in that rabble of such very common people ! " 

"You ll observe," said Uncle John, "that, when Mrs. 
G. goes to heaven, she 11 notify the Lord, forthwith, that 
she has only been accustomed to the most select circles, 
and requests to be admitted at the front door." 

"It isn t because I object to being with common peo 
ple," said Anne Clayton, "that I dislike this custom of 
going to the altar; but it seems to me an invasion of that 
privacy and reserve which belong to our most sacred feel 
ings. Besides, there are in a crowd coarse, rude, disagree 
able people, with whom it isn t pleasant to come in con 

"For my part," said Mrs. John Gordon, "I don t 
believe in it at all! It s a mere temporary excitement. 
People go and get wonderfully wrought up, come away, 
and are just what they were before." 

"Well," said Clayton, "isn t it better to be wrought up 
once in a while, than never to have any religious feelings ? 
Isn t it better to have a vivid impression of the vastness 
and worth of the soul, of the power of an endless life, 
for a few hours once a year, than never to feel it at all ? 
The multitudes of those people, there, never hear or think 
a word of these things at any other time in their lives. 
For my part," he added, "I don t see why it s a thing to 
be ashamed of, if Mr. Gordon or I should have knelt at 

352 DEED 

the altar last night, even if we do not feel like it this 
morning. We are too often ashamed of our better mo 
ments; I believe Protestant Christians are the only 
people on earth who are ashamed of the outward recogni 
tion of their religion. The Mahometan will prostrate him 
self in the street, or wherever he happens to be, when his 
hour for prayer comes. The Roman Catholic sailor or 
soldier kneels down at the sound of the vesper bell. But 
we rather take pride in having it understood that we take 
our religion moderately and coolly, and that we are not 
going to put ourselves much out about it." 

"Well, but, brother," said Anne, "I will maintain, 
still, that there is a reserve about these things which 
belongs to the best Christians. And did not our Saviour 
tell us that our prayers and alms should be in secret ? " 

"I do not deny at all what you say, Anne," said Clay 
ton; "but I think what I said is true, notwithstanding; 
and both being true, of course, in some way they must be 
consistent with each other." 

"I think," said Nina, "the sound of the singing at 
these camp-meetings is really quite spirit-stirring and excit 

"Yes," said Clayton, "these wild tunes, and the hymns 
with which they are associated, form a kind of forest 
liturgy, in which the feelings of thousands of hearts have 
been embodied. Some of the tunes seem to me to have 
been caught from the song of birds, or from the rushing 
of wind among the branches. They possess a peculiar 
rhythmical energy, well suited to express the vehement 
emotions of the masses. Did camp-meetings do no other 
good than to scatter among the people these hymns and 
tunes, I should consider them to be of inestimable value." 

"I must say," said Anne, "I always had a prejudice 
against that class both of hymns and tunes. " 

"You misjudge them," said Clayton, "as you refined, 


cultivated women always do, who are brought up in the 
kid-slipper and carpet view of human life. But just 
imagine only the old Greek or Roman peasantry elevated 
to the level of one of these hymns. Take, for example, 
a verse of one I heard them sing last night : 

The earth shall be dissolved like snow, 

The sun shall cease to shine, 
But God, who called me here below, 
Shall be forever mine. 

What faith is there! What confidence in immortality! 
How could a man feel it, and not be ennobled? Then, 
what a rough hearty heroism was in that first hymn! It 
was right manly ! " 

"Ah, but," said Anne, "half the time they sing them 
without the slightest perception of their meaning, or the 
least idea of being influenced by them." 

"And so do the worshipers in the sleepiest and most aris 
tocratic churches," said Clayton. "That s nothing peculiar 
to the camp- ground. But if it is true what a certain 
statesman once said, Let me make the ballads of the people, 
and I care not who makes their laws, it is certainly a 
great gain to have such noble sentiments as many of these 
hymns contain circulating freely among the people." 

"What upon earth," said Uncle John, "do you suppose 
that last fellow was about, up in the clouds, there 1 No 
body seemed to know where he was, or who he was; and 
I thought his discourse seemed to be rather an unexpected 
addition. He put it into us pretty strong, I thought! 
Declare, such a bundle of woes and curses I never heard 
distributed! Seemed to have done up all the old prophets 
into one bundle, and tumbled it down upon our heads ! 
Some of them were quite superstitious about it, and began 
talking about warnings, and all that." 

"Pooh!" said Aunt Maria, "the likelihood is that some 
itinerant poor preacher has fallen upon this trick for pro- 

354 DEED 

ducing a sensation. There is no end to the trickeries and 
the got-up scenes in these camp-meetings, just to produce 
effect. If I had had a pistol, I should like to have fired 
into the tree, and see whether I could n t have changed 
his tune." 

"It seemed to me," said Clayton, "from the little that 
I did hear, that there was some method in his madness. 
It was one of the most singular and impressive voices I 
ever heard; and really, the enunciation of some of those 
latter things was tremendous. But then, in the universal 
license and general confusion of the scene, the thing was 
not so much to be wondered at. It would be the most 
natural thing in the world that some crazy fanatic should 
be heated almost to the point of insanity by the scene, and 
take this way of unburdening himself. Such excitements 
most generally assume the form of denunciation." 

"Well, now," said Nina, "to tell the truth, I should 
like to go out again to-day. It s a lovely ride, and I like 
to be in the woods. And then, I like to walk around 
among the tents, and hear the people talk, and see all the 
different specimens of human nature that are there. I 
never saw such a gathering together in my life." 

"Agreed!" said Uncle John. "I ll go with you. 
After all, Clayton, here, has got the right of it, when he 
says a fellow ought n t to be ashamed of his religion, such 
as it is." 

" Such as it is, to be sure ! " said Aunt Maria sarcasti 

" Yes, I say again, such as it is ! " said Uncle John, 
bracing himself. "I don t pretend it s much. We 11 all 
of us bear to be a good deal better, without danger of being 
translated. Now, as to this being converted, hang me if 
I know how to get at it! I suppose that it is something 
like an electric shock if a fellow is going to get it, he 
must go up to the machine ! " 


"Well," said Nina, "you do hear some queer things 
there. Don t you remember that jollyj slashing-looking 
fellow, whom they called Bill Dakin, that came up there 
with his two dogs? In the afternoon, after the regular 
services, we went to one of the tents where there was a 
very noisy prayer-meeting going on, and there was Bill 
Dakin, on his knees, with his hands clasped, and the tears 
rolling down his cheeks; and Father Bonnie was praying 
over him with all his might. And what do you think he 
said? He said, Lord, here s Bill Dakin; he is con 
verted; now take him right to heaven, now he is ready, or 
he 11 be drunk again in two weeks! ; 

"Well," said Anne Clayton, tossing her head indig 
nantly, "that s blasphemy, in my opinion." 

"Oh, perhaps not," said Clayton, "any more than the 
clownish talk of any of our servants is intentional rude 

"Well," said Anne, "don t you think it shows a great 
want of perception ? " 

"Certainly, it does," said Clayton. "It shows great 
rudeness and coarseness of fibre, and is not at all to be 
commended. But still we are not to judge of it by the 
rules of cultivated society. In well-trained minds every 
faculty keeps its due boundaries ; but in this kind of 
wild-forest growth, mirthfulness will sometimes overgrow 
reverence, just as the yellow jessamine will completely 
smother a tree. A great many of the ordinances of the 
old Mosaic dispensation were intended to counteract this 
very tendency." 

"Well," said Nina, "did you notice poor old Tiff, so 
intent upon getting his children converted? He didn t 
seem to have the least thought or reference to getting into 
heaven himself. The only thing with him was to get 
those children in. Tiff seems to me just like those mistle 
toes that we see on the trees in the swamps. He don t 

356 DEED 

seem to have any root of his own; he seems to grow out 
of something else. 7 

"Those children are very pretty-looking, genteel chil 
dren," said Anne; "and how well they were dressed! " 

"My dear," said Nina, "Tiff prostrates himself at my 
shrine, every time he meets me, to implore my favorable 
supervision as to that point; and it really is diverting to 
hear him talk. The old Caliban has an eye for color, and 
a sense of what is suitable, equal to any French milliner. 
I assure you, my dear, I always was reputed for having a 
talent for dress; and Tiff appreciates me. Isn t it charm 
ing of him 1 I declare, when I see the old creature lugging 
about those children, I always think of an ugly old cactus 
with its blossoms. I believe he verily thinks they belong 
to him just as much. Their father is entirely dismissed 
from Tiff s calculations. Evidently all he wants of him is 
to keep out of the way, and let him work. The whole 
burden of their education lies on his shoulders." 

"For my part," said Aunt Nesbit, "I m glad you ve 
faith to believe in those children. I haven t; they 11 be 
sure to turn out badly you see if they don t." 

"And I think," said Aunt Maria, "we have enough to 
do with our own servants, without taking all these miser 
able whites on our hands, too." 

"I m not going to take all the whites," said Nina. 
"I m going to take these children." 

"I wish you joy! " said Aunt Maria. 

"I wonder," said Aunt Nesbit, "if Harry is under 
concern of mind. He seems to be dreadfully down, this 
morning. " 

" Is he 1 " said Nina. " I had n t noticed it. " 

"Well," said Uncle John, "perhaps he ll get set up, 
to-day who knows ? In fact, I hope I shall myself. I 
tell you what it is, parson," said he, laying his hand on 
Clayton s shoulder, "you should take the gig, to-day, and 


drive this little sinner, and let me go with the ladies. Of 
course you know Mrs. G-. engrosses my whole soul; but 
then, there s a kind of insensible improvement that comes 
from such celestial bodies as Miss Anne, here, that 
oughtn t to be denied to me. The clergy ought to enu 
merate female influence among the means of grace. I m 
sure there s nothing builds me up like it." 

Clayton, of course, assented very readily to this arrange 
ment; and the party was adjusted on this basis. 

"Look ye here, now, Clayton," said Uncle John, tip 
ping him a sly wink, after he had handed Nina in, "you 
must confess that little penitent! She wants a spiritual 
director, my boy! I tell you what, Clayton, there isn t 
a girl like that in North Carolina. There s blood, sir, 
there. You must humor her on the bit, and give her her 
head a while. Ah, but she 11 draw well at last! I always 
like a creature that kicks to pieces harness, wagon, and 
all, to begin with. They do the best when they are 
broken in." With which profound remarks Uncle John 
turned to hand Anne Clayton to the carriage. 

Clayton understood too well what he was about to make 
any such use of the interview as Uncle John had sug 
gested. He knew perfectly that his best chance, with a 
nature so restless as Nina s, was to keep up a sense of 
perfect freedom in all their intercourse; and, therefore, no 
grandfather could have been more collected and easy in a 
tete-a-tete drive than he. The last conversation at the 
camp-meeting he knew had brought them much nearer to 
each other than they had ever stood before, because both 
had spoken in deep earnestness of feeling of what lay deep 
est in their heart; and one such moment, he well knew, 
was of more binding force than a hundred nominal be 

The morning was one of those perfect ones which suc 
ceed a thunder-shower in the night; when the air, cleared 

358 DRED 

of every gross vapor, and impregnated with moist exhala 
tions from the woods, is both balmy and stimulating. 
The steaming air developed to the full the balsamic proper 
ties of the pine groves through which they rode; and 
where the road skirted the swampy land, the light fell 
slanting on the leaves of the deciduous trees, rustling and 
dripping with the last night s shower. The heavens were 
full of those brilliant, island-like clouds, which are said to 
be a peculiarity of American skies, in their distinct relief 
above the intense blue. At a long distance they caught 
the sound of camp - meeting hymns. But before they 
reached the ground, they saw, in more than one riotous 
group, the result of too frequent an application to Abijah 
Skinflint s department, and others of a similar character. 
They visited the quarters of Old Tiff, whom they found 
busy ironing some clothes for the baby, which he had 
washed and hung out the night before. The preaching 
had not yet commenced, and the party walked about among 
the tents. Women were busy cooking and washing dishes 
under the trees; and there was a great deal of good-natured 

One of the most remarkable features of the day was a 
sermon from Father Dickson, on the sins of the church. 
It concluded with a most forcible and solemn appeal to all 
on the subject of slavery. He reminded both the Metho 
dists and Presbyterians that their books of discipline had 
most pointedly and unequivocally condemned it ; that John 
Wesley had denounced it as the sum of all villainies, and 
that the general assemblies of the Presbyterian Church 
had condemned it as wholly inconsistent with the religion 
of Christ, with the great law which requires us to love 
others as ourselves. He related the scene which he had 
lately witnessed in the slave-coffle. He spoke of the hor 
rors of the interstate slave-trade, and drew a touching 
picture of the separation of families, and the rending of 


all domestic and social ties, which resulted from it, and 
alluding to the unknown speaker of the evening before, 
told his audience that he had discerned a deep significance 
in his words, and that he feared, if there was not immedi 
ate repentance and reformation, the land would yet be 
given up to the visitations of divine wrath. As he spoke 
with feeling, he awakened feeling in return. Many were 
affected even to tears; but when the sermon was over, it 
seemed to melt away, as a wave flows back again into the 
sea. It was far easier to join in a temporary whirlwind of 
excitement than to take into consideration troublesome, 
difficult, and expensive reforms. 

Yet, still, it is due to the degenerate Christianity of the 
slave states to say, that, during the long period in which 
the church there has been corrupting itself, and lowering 
its standard of right to meet a depraved institution, there 
have not been wanting, from time to time, noble confes 
sors, who have spoken for God and humanity. For many 
years they were listened to with that kind of pensive toler 
ance which men give when they acknowledge their fault 
without any intention of mending. Of late years, how 
ever, the lines have been drawn more sharply, and such 
witnesses have spoken in peril of their lives; so that now 
seldom a voice arises except in approbation of oppression. 

The sermon was fruitful of much discussion in different 
parts of the camp-ground; and none, perhaps, was louder 
in the approbation of it than the Georgia trader, who, 
seated on Abijah Skinflint s counter, declared: "That was 
a parson as was a parson, and that he liked his pluck ; 
and, for his part, when ministers and church-members 
would give over buying, he should take up some other 

"That was a very good sermon," said Nina, "and I 
believe every word of it. But then, what do you suppose 
we ought to do ? " 

360 DEED 

"Why," said Clayton, "we ought to contemplate eman 
cipation as a future certainty, and prepare our people in 
the shortest possible time." 

This conversation took place as the party were seated at 
their nooning under the trees, around an unpacked hamper 
of cold provisions, which they were leisurely discussing. 

"Why, bless my soul, Clayton," said Uncle John, "I 
don t see the sense of such an anathema maranatha as we 
got to-day. Good Lord, what earthly harm are we doing? 
As to our niggers, they are better off than we are ! I say 
it coolly that is, as coolly as a man can say anything 
between one and two o clock in such weather as this. 
Why, look at my niggers ! Do I ever have any chickens, 
or eggs, or cucumbers 1 No, to be sure. All my chickens 
die, and the cut-worm plays the devil with my cucumbers; 
but the niggers have enough. Theirs flourish like a green 
bay-tree; and of course I have to buy of them. They 
raise chickens. I buy em and cook em, and then they 
eat em! That s the way it goes. As to the slave-corn 1 es, 
and slave-prisons, and the trade, why, that s abominable, 
to be sure. But, Lord bless you, I don t want it done! 
I d kick a trader off my doorsteps forthwith, though I m 
all eaten up with woolly-heads, like locusts. I don t like 
such sermons, for my part." 

"Well," said Aunt Nesbit, "our Mr. Titmarsh preached 

quite another way when I attended church in E . He 

proved that slavery was a Scriptural institution, and estab 
lished by God." 

"I should think anybody s common sense would show 
that a thing which works so poorly for both sides couldn t 
be from God," said Nina. 

"Who is Mr. Titmarsh? " said Clayton to her, aside. 

"Oh, one of Aunt Nesbit s favorites, and one of my 
aversions! He isn t a man he s nothing but a theo 
logical dictionary with a cravat on! I can t bear him!" 


"Now, people may talk as much as they please of the 
educated democracy of the North," said Uncle John. " 1 
don t like em. What do workingmen want of education? 
Ruins em! I ve heard of their learned blacksmiths 
bothering around, neglecting their work, to make speeches. 
I don t like such things. It raises them above their 
sphere. And there s nothing going on up in those north 
ern states but a constant confusion and hubbub. All sorts 
of heresies come from the North, and infidelity, and the 
Lord knows what! We have peace, down here. To be 
sure, our poor whites are in a devil of a fix; but we 
haven t got em under yet. We shall get em in, one of 
these days, with our niggers, and then all will be content 

"Yes," said Nina, "there s Uncle John s view of the 
millennium ! " 

"To be sure," said Uncle John, "the lower classes want 
governing they want care; that s what they want. And 
all they need to know is, what the Episcopal Church cate 
chism says, to learn and labor truly to get their own 
living in the state wherein it has pleased God to call 
them. That makes a well-behaved lower class, and a 
handsome, gentlemanly, orderly state of society. The 
upper classes ought to be instructed in their duties. They 
ought to be considerate and condescending, and all that. 
That s my view of society." 

"Then you are no republican," said Clayton. 

"Bless you, yes I am! I believe in the equality of 
gentlemen, and the equal rights of well-bred people. 
That s my idea of a republic." 

Clayton, Nina, and Anne laughed. 

"Now," said Nina, "to see uncle so jovial and free, 
and Hail fellow well met with everybody, you d think 
he was the greatest democrat that ever walked. But, you 
see, it s only because he s so immeasurably certain of his 

362 DEED 

superior position that s all. He isn t afraid to kneel 
at the altar with Bill Dakin, or Jim Sykes, because he s 
so sure that his position can t be compromised." 

"Besides that, chick," said Uncle John, "I have the 
sense to know that, in my Maker s presence, all human 
differences are child s play." And Uncle John spoke with 
a momentary solemnity which was heartfelt. 

It was agreed by the party that they would not stay to 
attend the evening exercises. The novelty of the effect 
was over, and Aunt Nesbit spoke of the bad effects of fall 
ing dew and night air. Accordingly, as soon as the air 
was sufficiently cooled to make riding practicable, the party 
were again on their way home. 

The woodland path was streaked with green and golden 
bands of light thrown between the tree-trunks across the 
way, and the trees reverberated with the evening song of 
birds. Nina and Clayton naturally fell into a quiet and 
subdued train of conversation. 

"It is strange," said Nina, "these talkings and search- 
ings about religion. Now, there are people who have 
something they call religion, which I don t think does 
them any good. It isn t of any use it doesn t make 
them better and it makes them very disagreeable. I 
would rather be as I am than to have what they call reli 
gion. But then, there are others that have something 
which I know is religion; something that I know I have 
not; something that I d give all the world to have, and 
don t know how to get. Now, there was Livy Ray 
you ought to have seen Livy Kay there was something 
so superior about her; and what was extraordinary is, 
that she was good without being stupid. What do you 
suppose the reason is that good people are generally so 
stupid 1 " 

"A great deal," said Clayton, "is called goodness 
which is nothing but want of force. A person is said to 


have self-government simply because he has nothing to 
govern. They talk about self-denial, when their desires 
are so weak that one course is about as easy to them as 
another. Such people easily fall into a religious routine, 
get by heart a set of phrases, and make, as you say, very 
stupid, good people. 77 

"Now, Livy," said Nina, "was remarkable. She had 
that kind of education that they give girls in New Eng 
land, stronger and more like a man s than ours. She 
could read Greek and Latin as easily as she could French 
and Italian. She was keen, shrewd, and witty, and had 
a kind of wild grace about her, like these grapevines; yet 
she was so strong ! Well, do you know, I almost worship 
Livy ? And I think, the little while she was in our 
school, she did me more good than all the teachers and 
studying put together. Why, it does one good to know 
that such people are possible. Don t you think it does?" 

"Yes," said Clayton; "all the good in the world is 
done by the personality of people. Now, in books, it 
isn t so much what you learn from them, as the contact 
it gives you with the personality of the writer, that im 
proves you. A real book always makes you feel that there 
is more in the writer than anything that he has said." 

"That," said Nina eagerly, "is just the way I feel 
toward Livy. She seems to me like a mine. When I 
was with her the longest, I always felt as if I had n t half 
seen her. She always made me hungry to know her 
more. I mean to read you some of her letters, some time. 
She writes beautiful letters; and I appreciate that very 
much because I can t do it. I can talk better than I can 
write. Somehow my ideas will not take a course down 
through my arms; they always will run up to my mouth. 
But you ought to see Livy ; such people always make me 
very discontented with myself. I don t know what the reason 
is that I like to see superior people, and things, when they 

364 DRED 

always make me realize what a poor concern I am. Now, 
the first time I heard Jenny Lind sing, it spoiled all my 
music and all my songs for me, turned them all to trash 
at one stroke, and yet I liked it. But I don t seem to 
have got any further in goodness than just dissatisfaction 
with myself." 

"Well," said Clayton, "there s where the foundation- 
stone of all excellence is laid. The very first blessing 
that Christ pronounced was on those who were poor in 
spirit. The indispensable condition to all progress in art, 
science, or religion, is to feel that we have nothing." 

"Do you know," said Nina, after something of a pause, 
"that I can t help wondering what you took up with me 
for? I have thought very often that you ought to have 
Livy Ray." 

"Well, I m much obliged to you," said Clayton, "for 
your consideration in providing for me. But supposing 
I should prefer my own choice, after all? We men are 
a little willful, sometimes, like you of the gentler sex." 

"Well," said Nina, "if you will have the bad taste, 
then, to insist on liking me, let me warn you that you 
don t know what you are about. I m a very unformed, 
unpractical person. I don t keep accounts. I m nothing 
at all of a housekeeper. I shall leave open drawers, and 
scatter papers, and forget the day of the month, and tear 
the newspaper, and do everything else that is wicked; and 
then, one of these days, it will be, Nina, why haven t 
you done this? and why haven t you done that? and 
why don t you do the other? and why do you do some 
thing else? Ah, I ve heard you men talk before! And 
then, you see, I sha n t like it, and I sha n t behave well. 
Haven t the least hope of it; won t ever engage to! So, 
now, won t you take warning? " 

"No," said Clayton, looking at her with a curious kind 
of smile, "I don t think I shall." 


"How dreadfully positive and self-willed men are!" 
said Nina, drawing a long breath, and pretending to laugh. 

"There s so little of that in you ladies," said Clayton, 
"we have to do it for both." 

"So, then," said Nina, looking round with a half-laugh 
and half -blush, "you will persist? " 

"Yes, you wicked little witch!" said Clayton, "since 
you challenge me, I will." And as he spoke, he passed 
his arm round Nina firmly, and fixed his eyes on hers. 
"Come, now, my little Baltimore oriole, have I caught 
you ? " And 

But we are making our chapter too long. 



THE visit of Clayton and his sister, like all other plea 
sant things, had its end. Clayton was called back to his 
law office and books, and Anne went to make some sum 
mer visits previous to her going to Clayton s plantation of 
Magnolia Grove, where she was to superintend his various 
schemes for the improvement of his negroes. 

Although it was gravely insisted to the last that there 
was no engagement between Nina and Clayton, it became 
evident enough to all parties that only the name was want 
ing. The warmest possible friendship existed between 
Nina and Anne; and notwithstanding that Nina almost 
every day said something which crossed Anne s nicely 
adjusted views, and notwithstanding Anne had a gentle 
infusion of that disposition to sermonize which often exists 
in very excellent young ladies, still the two got on excel 
lently well together. 

It is to be confessed that, the week after they left, 
Nina was rather restless and lonesome, and troubled to 
pass her time. An incident, which we shall relate, how 
ever, gave her something to think of, and opens a new 
page in our story. 

While sitting on the veranda, after breakfast, her atten 
tion was called by various exclamations from the negro 
department, on the right side of the mansion; and looking 
out, to her great surprise, she saw Milly standing amid a 
group, who were surrounding her with eager demonstra 
tions. Immediately she ran down the steps to inquire 


what it might mean. Approaching nearer, she was some 
what startled to see that her old friend had her head bound 
up and her arm in a sling; and as she came towards her, 
she observed that she seemed to walk with difficulty, with 
a gait quite different from her usual firm, hilarious tread. 

" Why, Milly ! " she said, running towards her with 
eagerness, " what is the matter ? " 

"Not much, chile, I reckon, now I s got home!" said 

"Well, but what s the matter with your arm? " 

"No great! Dat ar man shot me; but, praise de Lord, 
he didn t kill me! I don t owe him no grudge; but I 
thought it wasn t right and fit that I should be treated so; 
and so I just put ! " 

"Why, come in the house this minute!" said Nina, 
laying hold of her friend, and drawing her towards the 
steps. "It s a shame! Come in, Milly, come in! That 
man! I knew he wasn t to be trusted. So, this is the 
good place he found for you, is it ? " 

" Jes so," said Tomtit, who, at the head of a dark stream 
of young juveniles, came after, with a towel hanging over 
one arm, and a knife half cleaned in his hand, while Eose 
and Old Hundred, and several others, followed to the 

"Laws-a-me!" said Aunt Eose, "just to think on t! 
Dat s what tis for old f am lies to hire der niggers out to 
common people ! " 

"Well," said Old Hundred, "Milly was allers too high 
feelin ; held her head up too much. Ain t noways sur 
prised at it ! " 

"Oh, go long, you old hominy-beetle!" said Aunt 
Eose. "Don t know nobody dat holds up der head higher 
nor you does ! " 

Nina, after having dismissed the special train of the 
juveniles and servants, began to examine into the condition 

368 DEED 

of her friend. The arm had evidently been grazed by a 
bullet, producing somewhat of a deep flesh wound, which 
had been aggravated by the heat of the weather and the 
fatigue which she had undergone. On removing the band 
age round her head, a number of deep and severe flesh 
cuts were perceived. 

"What s all this?" said Nina. 

"It s whar he hit me over de head! He was in drink, 
chile; he didn t well know what he was bout!" 

"What an abominable shame!" said Nina. "Look 
here," turning round to Aunt Nesbit, "see what comes of 
hiring Milly out ! " 

"I am sure I don t know what s to be done!" said 
Aunt Nesbit pitifully. 

"Done! why, of course, these are to be bandaged and 
put up, in the first place," said Nina, bustling about with 
great promptness, tearing off bandages, and ringing for 
warm water. "Aunt Milly, I ll do them up for you 
myself. I m a pretty good nurse, when I set about it." 

"Bless you, chile, but it seems good to get home mong 
friends ! " 

"Yes; and you won t go away again in a hurry!" said 
Nina, as she proceeded rapidly with her undertaking, wash 
ing and bandaging the wound. "There, now," she said, 
"you look something like; and now you shall lie down in 
my room, and take a little rest ! " 

"Thank ye, honey, chile, but I ll go to my own room; 
pears like it s more homelike," said Milly. And Nina, 
with her usual energy, waited on her there, closed the 
blinds, and spread a shawl over her after she had lain 
down, and after charging her two or three times to go to 
sleep and be quiet, she left her. She could hardly wait 
to have her get through her nap, so full was she of the 
matter, and so interested to learn the particulars of her 


" A pretty business, indeed ! " she said to Aunt Nesbit. 
"We ll prosecute those people, and make them pay dear 
for it." 

"That will be a great expense," said Aunt Nesbit 
apprehensively, "besides the loss of her time." 

"Well," said Nina, "I shall write to Clayton about it 
directly. I know he 11 feel just as I do. He understands 
the law, and all about those things, and he 11 know how 
to manage it." 

"Everything will make expense!" said Aunt Nesbit in 
a deplorable voice. "I m sure misfortunes never come 
single! Now, if she don t go back, I shall lose her wages! 
And here s all the expenses of a lawsuit, besides! I think 
she ought to have been more careful." 

"Why, aunt, for pity s sake, you don t pretend that 
you wish Milly to go back ? " 

"Oh no, of course I don t; but then, it s a pity. It 
will be a great loss, every way." 

"Why, aunt, you really talk as if you didn t think of 
anything but your loss. You don t seem to think any 
thing about what Milly has had to suffer ! " 

"Why, of course, I feel sorry for that," said Aunt 
Nesbit. "I wonder if she is going to be laid up long. I 
wish, on the whole, I had hired out one that was n t quite 
so useful to me." 

"Now, if that isn t just like her!" said Nina in an 
indignant tone, as she flung out of the room, and went to 
look softly in at Milly s door. "Never can see, hear, or 
think of anything but herself, no matter what happens! 
I wonder why Milly couldn t have belonged to me! " 

After two or three hours sleep, Milly came out of her 
room, seeming much better. A perfectly vigorous physical 
system, and vital powers all moving in the finest order, 
enabled her to endure much more than ordinary; and Nina 
soon became satisfied that no material injury had been sus- 

VOL. I. 

370 DEED 

tained, and that in a few days she would be quite recov 

"And now, Milly, do pray tell me where you have 
been," said Nina, "and what this is all about." 

"Why, you see, honey, I was hired to Mr. Barker, and 
dey said he was a mighty nice man ; and so he was, 
honey, most times; but den, you see, honey, dere s some 
folks dere s two men in em, one is a good one and 
t oder is very bad. Well, dis yer was just dat sort. You 
see, honey, I wouldn t go for to say dat he got drunk; 
but he was dat sort dat if he took ever so little, it made 
him kind o ugly and cross, and so dere wa n t no suiting 
him. Well, his wife, she was pretty far; and so he was, 
too, cept in spots. He was one of dese yer streaked men, 
dat has drefful ugly streaks; and some of dem times de 
Lord only knows what he won t do! Well, you see, 
honey, I thought I was getting along right well, at first, 
and I was mighty pleased. But dere was one day he came 
home, and peared like dere couldn t nobody suit him. 
Well, you see, dey had a gal dere, and she had a chile, 
and dis yer chile was a little thing. It got playing with 
a little burnt stick, and it blacked one of his clean shirts, 
I had just hung up, for I d been ironing, you see. 
Just den he came along, and you never heerd a man go 
on so! I s heerd bad talk afore, but I never heerd no 
sich! He swore he d kill de chile; and I thought my 
soul he would! De por little thing run behind me, and 
I just kep him off on it, cause I knowed he wa n t fit to 
touch it; and den he turned on me, and he got a cowhide, 
and he beat me over de head. I thought my soul he d 
kill me ! But I got to de door, and shut de chile out, and 
Hannah, she took it and run with it. But, bless you, it 
peared like he was a tiger, screeching, and foaming, and 
beating me! I broke away from him, and run. He just 
caught de rifle, he always kep one loaded, and shot at 


me, and de ball just struck my arm, and glanced off again. 
Bless de Lord, it did n t break it. Dat ar was a mighty 
close run, I can tell you! But I did run, cause, thinks 
I, dere ain t no safety for me in dat ar house; and, you 
see, I run till I got to de bush, and den I got to whar 
dere was some free colored folks, and dey did it up, and 
kep me a day or two. Den I started and came home, just 
as you told me to." 

"Well," said Nina, "you did well to come home; and 
I tell you what, I m going to have that man prosecuted! " 

"Oh, laws, no, Miss Nina! don t you goes doing nothing 
to him! His wife is a mighty nice woman, and peared 
like he didn t rightly know what he was bout." 

"Yes, but, Milly, you ought to be willing, because it 
may make him more careful with other people." 

"Laws, Miss Nina, why, dere is some sense in dat; but 
I wouldn t do it as bearing malice." 

"Not at all," said Nina. "I shall write to Mr. Clay 
ton, and take his advice about it." 

"He s a good man," said Milly. "He won t say 
nothing dat ain t right. I spect dat will do very well, dat 
ar way." 

"Yes," said Nina, "such people must be taught that 
the law will take hold of them. That will bring them to 
their bearings ! " 

Nina went immediately to her room, and dispatched a 
long letter to Clayton, full of all the particulars, and beg 
ging his immediate assistance. 

Our readers, those who have been in similar circum 
stances, will not wonder that Clayton saw in this letter 
an immediate call of duty to go to Canema. In fact, as 
soon as the letter could go to him, and he could perform 
a rapid horseback journey, he was once more a member of 
the domestic circle. He entered upon the case with great 
confidence and enthusiasm. 

372 DEED 

"It is a debt which we owe," he said, "to the character 
of our state, and to the purity of our institutions, to prove 
the efficiency of the law in behalf of that class of our pop 
ulation whose helplessness places them more particularly 
under our protection. They are to us in the condition of 
children under age ; and any violation of their rights should 
be more particularly attended to." 

He went immediately to the neighboring town, where 
Milly had been employed, and found, fortunately, that the 
principal facts had been subject to the inspection of white 
witnesses. A woman, who had been hired to do some 
sewing, had been in the next room during the whole time; 
and Milly s flight from the house, and the man s firing 
after her, had been observed by some workmen in the 
neighborhood. Everything, therefore, promised well, and 
the suit was entered forthwith. 



"WELL, now," said Frank Russel to one or two law 
yers with whom he was sitting, in a side room of the court 

house at E , "look out for breakers! Clayton has 

mounted his war-horse, and is coming upon us, now, like 
leviathan from the rushes." 

"Clayton is a good fellow," said one of them. "I like 
him, though he doesn t talk much." 

" Good 1 " said Russel, taking his cigar from his mouth ; 
"why, as the backwoodsmen say, he ain t nothing else! 
He is a great seventy-four pounder, charged to the muzzle 
with goodness! But, if he should be once fired off, I m 
afraid he 11 carry everything out of the world with him. 
Because, you see, abstract goodness does n t suit our present 
mortal condition. But it is a perfect godsend that he has 
such a case as this to manage for his maiden plea, because 
it just falls in with his heroic turn. Why, when I heard 
of it, I assure you I bestirred myself. I went about, and 
got Smithers and Jones and Peters to put off suits, so as 
to give him fair field and full play. Eor, if he succeeds in 
this, it may give him so good a conceit of the law, that 
he will keep on with it." 

"Why," said the other, "don t he like the law? 
What s the matter with the law?" 

"Oh, nothing, only Clayton has got one of those ethereal 
stomachs that rise against almost everything in this world. 
Now, there is n t more than one case in a dozen that he 11 
undertake. He sticks and catches just like an old bureau 

374 DEED 

drawer. Some conscientious crick in his back is always 
taking him at a critical moment, and so he is knocked up 
for actual work. But this defending a slave-woman will 
suit him to a T." 

" She is a nice creature, is n t she 1 " said one of them. 

"And belongs to a good old family," said another. 

"Yes," said the third, "and I understand his lady-love 
has something to do with the case." 

"Yes," said Russel, "to be sure she has. The woman 
belongs to a family connection of hers, I m told. Miss 
Gordon is a spicy little puss one that would be apt to 
resent anything of that sort ; and the Gordons are a very 
influential family. He is sure to get the case, though I m 
not clear that the law is on his side, by any means." 

"Not? " said the other barrister, who went by the name 
of Will Jones. 

"No," said Bussel. "In fact, I m pretty clear it isn t. 
But that will make no odds. When Clayton is thoroughly 
waked up, he is a whole team, I can tell you. He 11 take 
jury and judge along with him, fast enough." 

"I wonder," said one, "that Barker didn t compound 
the matter." 

"Oh, Barker is one of the stubbed sort. You know 
these middling kind of people always have a spite against 
old families. He makes fight because it is the Gordons, 
that s all. And there comes in his republicanism. He 
is n t going to be whipped in by the Gordons. Barker has 
got Scotch blood in him, and he 11 hang on to the case 
like death." 

"Clayton will make a good speech," said Jones. 

"Speech? that he will!" said Eussel. "Bless me, I 
could lay off a good speech on it, myself. Because, you 
see, it really was quite an outrage; and the woman is a 
presentable creature. And then, there s the humane 
dodge; that can be taken, beside all the chivalry part of 


defending the helpless, and all that sort of thing. I 
wouldn t ask for a better thing to work up into a speech. 
But Clayton will do it better yet, because he is actually 
sincere in it. And after all s said and done, there s a 
good deal in that. When a fellow speaks in solemn ear 
nest, he gives a kind of weight that you can t easily get 
at any other way." 

"Well, but," said one, "I don t understand you, Rus- 
sel, why you think the law isn t on Clayton s side. I m 
sure it s a very clear case of terrible abuse." 

"Oh, certainly it is," said Russel, "and the man is a 
dolt, and a brute beast, and ought to be shot, and so forth; 
but then, he hasn t really exceeded his legal limits, be 
cause, you see, the law gives to the hirer all the rights of 
the master. There s no getting away from that, in my 
opinion. Now, any master might have done all that, and 
nobody could have done anything about it. They do do 
it, for that matter, if they re bad enough, and nobody 
thinks of touching them." 

"Well, I say," said Jones, "Russel, don t you think 
that s too bad?" 

"Laws, yes, man; but the world is full of things that 
are too bad. It s a bad kind of a place," said Russel, as 
he lit another cigar. 

"Well, how do you think Clayton is going to succeed," 
said Jones, "if the law is so clearly against him? " 

"Oh, bless you, you don t know Clayton. He is a 
glorious mystifier. In the first place, he mystifies himself. 
And now, you mark me. When a powerful fellow mysti 
fies himself, so that he really gets himself thoroughly on 
to his own side, there s nobody he can t mystify. I speak 
it in sober sadness, Jones, that the want of this faculty is 
a great hindrance to me in a certain class of cases. You 
see I can put on the pathetic and heroic, after a sort; but 
I don t take myself along with me I don t really believe 

376 DRED 

myself. There s the trouble. It s this power of self- 
mystification that makes what you call earnest men. If 
men saw the real bread and butter and green cheese of 
life, as I see it, the hard, dry, primitive facts, they 
couldn t raise such commotions as they do." 

"B-ussel, it always makes me uncomfortable to hear you 
talk. It seems as if you didn t believe in anything!" 

"Oh yes, I do," said Russel; "I believe in the multi 
plication table, and several other things of that nature at 
the beginning of the arithmetic; and also, that the wicked 
will do wickedly. But as to Clayton s splendid abstrac 
tions, I only wish him joy of them. But then, I shall 
believe him while I hear him talk; so will you; so will 
all the rest of us. That s the fun of it. But the thing 
will be just where it was before, and I shall find it so 
when I wake up to-morrow morning. It s a pity such 
fellows as Clayton couldn t be used as we use big guns. 
He is death on anything he fires at; and if he only would 
let me load and point him, he and I together would make 
a firm that would sweep the land. But here he comes, 
upon my word. 

"Hallo, Clayton, all ready?" 

"Yes," said Clayton, " 8 I believe so. When will the 
case be called ? " 

"To-day, I m pretty sure," said Eussel. 

Clayton was destined to have something of an audience 
in his first plea; for the Gordons being an influential and 
a largely connected family, there was quite an interest 
excited among them in the affair. Clayton also had many 
warm personal friends, and his father, mother, and sister 
were to be present; for though residing in a different part 
of the state, they were at this time on a visit in the vicin 
ity of the town of E . 

There is something in the first essay of a young man, 
in any profession, like the first launching of a ship, which 


has a never-ceasing hold on human sympathies. Clayton s 
father, mother, and sister, with Nina, at the time of the 
dialogue we have given, were sitting together in the parlor 
of a friend s house in E , discussing the same event. 

"I am sure that he will get the case," said Anne Clay 
ton, with the confidence of a generous woman and warm 
hearted sister. "He has been showing me the course of 
his argument, and it is perfectly irresistible. Has he said 
anything to you about it, father 1 " 

Judge Clayton had been walking up and down the room, 
with his hands behind him, with his usual air of consider 
ate gravity. Stopping short at Anne s question, he said, 
"Edward s mind and mine work so differently, that I have 
not thought best to embarrass him by any conference on 
the subject. I consider the case an unfortunate one, and 
would rather he could have had some other." 

"Why," said Anne eagerly, "don t you think he ll 
gain it ? " 

"Not if the case goes according to law," said Judge 
Clayton. "But then, Edward has a great deal of power 
of eloquence, and a good deal of skill in making a diversion 
from the main point; so that, perhaps, he may get the 
case. " 

"Why," said Nina, "I thought cases were always 
decided according to law ! What else do they make laws 
for ? " 

"You are very innocent, my child," said Judge Clayton. 

"But, father, the proof of the outrage is most abundant. 
Nobody could pretend to justify it." 

"Nobody will, child. But that s nothing to the case. 
The simple point is, did the man exceed his legal power? 
It s my impression he did not." 

" Father, what a horrible doctrine ! " said Anne. 

"I simply speak of what is," said Judge Clayton. "I 
don t pretend to justify it. But Edward has great power 

378 DEED 

of exciting the feelings, and under the influence of his 
eloquence the case may go the other way, and humanity 
triumph at the expense of law." 

Clayton s plea came on in the afternoon, and justified 
the expectations of his friends. His personal presence was 
good, his voice melodious, and his elocution fine. But 
what impressed his auditors, perhaps, more than these, 
was a certain elevation and clearness in the moral atmos 
phere around him, a gravity and earnestness of convic 
tion which gave a secret power to all he said. He took 
up the doctrine of the dependent relations of life, and of 
those rules by which they should be guided and restrained; 
and showed that while absolute power seems to be a neces 
sary condition of many relations of life, both reason and 
common sense dictate certain limits to it. "The law guar 
antees to the parent, the guardian, and the master, the right 
of enforcing obedience by chastisement; and the reason 
for it is, that the subject being supposed to be imperfectly 
developed, his good will, on the whole, be better consulted 
by allowing to his lawful guardian this power. 

"The good of the subject," he said, "is understood to 
be the foundation of the right; but when chastisement is 
inflicted without just cause, and in a manner so inconsider 
ate arid brutal as to endanger the safety and well-being of 
the subject, the great foundation principle of the law is 
violated. The act becomes perfectly lawless, and as inca 
pable of legal defense as it is abhorrent to every sentiment 
of humanity and justice. 

"He should endeavor to show," he said, "by full testi 
mony, that the case in question was one of this sort." 

In examining witnesses Clayton showed great dignity 
and acuteness, and as the feeling of the court was already 
prepossessed in his favor, the cause evidently gathered 
strength as it went on. The testimony showed, in the 
most conclusive manner, the general excellence of Milly s 


character, and the utter brutality of the outrage which had 
been committed upon her. In his concluding remarks, 
Clayton addressed the jury in a tone of great elevation and 
solemnity, on the duty of those to whom is intrusted the 
guardianship of the helpless. 

"No obligation," he said, "can be stronger to an honor 
able mind than the obligation of entire dependence. The 
fact that a human being has no refuge from our power, no 
appeal from our decisions, so far from leading to careless 
security, is one of the strongest possible motives to caution 
and to most exact care. The African race," he said, "had 
been bitter sufferers. Their history had been one of 
wrong and cruelty, painful to every honorable mind. We 
of the present day, who sustain the relation of slave 
holder," he said, "receive from the hands of our fathers 
an awful trust. Irresponsible power is the greatest trial 
of humanity, and if we do not strictly guard our own moral 
purity in the use of it, we shall degenerate into despots 
and tyrants. No consideration can justify us in holding 
this people in slavery an hour, unless we make this slavery 
a guardian relation, in which our superior strength and 
intelligence are made the protector and educator of their 
simplicity and weakness. 

"The eyes of the world are fastened upon us," he said. 
" Our continuing in this position at all is, in many quar 
ters, matter of severe animadversion. Let us therefore 
show, by the spirit in which we administer our laws, by 
the impartiality with which we protect their rights, that 
the master of the helpless African is his best and truest 

It was evident, as Clayton spoke, that he carried the 
whole of his audience with him. The counsel on the 
other side felt himself much straitened. There is very 
little possibility of eloquence in defending a manifest act 
of tyranny and cruelty ; and a man speaks, also, at great 

380 DEED 

disadvantage, who not only is faint-hearted in his own 
cause, bat feels the force of the whole surrounding atmos 
phere against him. 

In fact, the result was, that the judge charged the jury, 
if they found the chastisement to have been disproportion 
ate and cruel, to give verdict for the plaintiff. The jury, 
with little discussion, gave it unanimously, accordingly, 
and so Clayton s first cause was won. 

If ever a woman feels proud of her lover, it is when she 
sees him as a successful public speaker; and Nina, when 
the case was over, stood half-laughing, half-blushing, in a 
circle of ladies, who alternately congratulated and rallied 
her on Clayton s triumph. 

"Ah," said Frank Eussel, "we understand the magic. 
The knight always fights well when his lady-love looks 
down! Miss Gordon must have the credit of this. She 
took all the strength out of the other side, like the 
mountain of loadstone, that used to draw all the nails out 
of the ship." 

"I am glad," said Judge Clayton, as he walked home 
with his wife, "I am very glad that Edward has met with 
such success. His nature is so fastidious that I have had 
my fears that he would not adhere to the law. There are 
many things in it, I grant, which would naturally offend 
a fastidious mind, and one which, like his, is always ideal 
izing life." 

"He has established a noble principle," said Mrs. Clay 

"I wish he had," said the judge. "It would be a very 
ungrateful task, but I could have shattered his argument 
all to pieces." 

"Don t tell him so!" said Mrs. Clayton apprehen 
sively ; " let him have the comfort of it. " 

"Certainly I shall. Edward is a good fellow, and I 
hope, after a while, he 11 draw well in the harness." 


Meanwhile, Frank Bussel and Will Jones were walking 
along in another direction. 

"Didn t I tell you so? " said Kussel. "You see, Clay 
ton run Bedford down, horse and foot, and made us all as 
solemn as a preparatory lecture." 

"But he had a good argument," said Jones. 

"To be sure he had I never knew him to want that. 
He builds up splendid arguments, always, and the only 
thing to be said of him, after it s all over, is, it isn t so; 
it s no such thing. Barker is terrible wroth, I can assure 
you. He swears he 11 appeal the case. But that s no 
matter. Clayton has had his day all the same. He is 
evidently waked up. Oh, he has no more objection to a 
little popularity than you and I have, now; and if we 
could humor him along, as we would a trout, we should 
have him a firstrate lawyer, one of these days. Did you 
see Miss Gordon while he was pleading 1 By George ! she 
looked so handsome I was sorry I hadn t taken her my 

"Is she that dashing little flirting Miss Gordon that I 
heard of in New York 1 " 

"The very same." 

" How came she to take a fancy to him ? " 

"She? How do I know? She s as full of streaks as 
a tulip; and her liking for him is one of them. Did you 
notice her, Will ? scarf flying one way, and little curls 
and pennants and streamers and veil the other! And 
then, those eyes! She s alive, every inch of her! She 
puts me in mind of a sweet-brier bush, winking and blink 
ing full of dewdrops, full of roses, and brisk little thorns, 
beside! Ah, she 11 keep him awake! " 



JUDGE CLAYTON was not mistaken in supposing that 
his son would contemplate the issue of the case he had 
defended with satisfaction. As we have already intimated, 
Clayton was somewhat averse to the practice of the law. 
Regard for the feelings of his father had led him to resolve 
that he would at least give it a fair trial. His own turn 
of mind would have led him to some work of more imme 
diate and practical philanthropy. He would have much 
preferred to retire to his own estate, and devote himself, 
with his sister, to the education of his servants. But he 
felt that he could not, with due regard to his father s feel 
ings, do this until he had given professional life a fair 

After the scene of the trial which we have described, he 
returned to his business, and Anne solicited Nina to accom 
pany her for a few weeks to their plantation at Magnolia 
Grove, whither, as in duty bound, we may follow her. 

Our readers will therefore be pleased to find themselves 
transported to the shady side of a veranda belonging to 
Clayton s establishment at Magnolia Grove. The place 
derived its name from a group of these beautiful trees, in 
the centre of which the house was situated. It was a 
long, low cottage, surrounded by deep verandas, festooned 
with an exuberance of those climbing plants which are so 
splendid in the southern latitude. The range of apart 
ments which opened on the veranda where Anne and Nina 
were sitting was darkened to exclude the flies; but the 


doors, standing open, gave picture- like gleams of the inte 
rior. The white, matted floors, light bamboo furniture, 
couches covered with glazed white linen, and the large 
vases of roses disposed here and there, where the light 
would fall upon them, presented a background of inviting 

It was early in the morning, and the two ladies were 
enjoying the luxury of a tete-a-tete breakfast before the 
sun had yet dried the heavy dews which give such fresh 
ness to the morning air. A small table which stood be 
tween them was spread with choice fruits, arranged on 
dishes in green leaves; a pitcher of iced milk, and a 
delicate little tete-a-tete coffee-service, dispensing the per 
fume of the most fragrant coffee. Nor were they wanting 
those small delicate biscuits, and some of those curious 
forms of corn- bread, of the manufacture of which every 
southern cook is so justly proud. Nor should we omit the 
central vase of monthly roses, of every shade of color, the 
daily arrangement of which was the special delight of 
Anne s brown little waiting-maid Lettice. 

Anne Clayton, in a fresh white morning-wrapper, with 
her pure, healthy complexion, fine teeth, and frank, beam 
ing smile, looked like a queenly damask rose. A queen 
she really was on her own plantation, reigning by the 
strongest of all powers, that of love. The African race 
have large ideality and veneration; and in no drawing- 
room could Anne s beauty and grace, her fine manners and 
carriage, secure a more appreciating and unlimited admira 
tion and devotion. The negro race, with many of the 
faults of children, unite many of their most amiable quali 
ties, in the simplicity and confidingness with which they 
yield themselves up in admiration of a superior friend. 

Nina had been there but a day, yet could not fail to 
read in the eyes of all how absolute was the reign which 
Anne held over their affections. 

384 DEED 

"How delightful the smell of this magnolia blossom!" 
said Nina. "Oh, I m glad that you waked me so early, 
Anne ! " 

"Yes," said Anne, "in this climate early rising becomes 
a necessary of life to those who mean to have any real, 
positive pleasure in it, and I m one of the sort that must 
have positive pleasures. Merely negative rest, lassitude, 
and dreaming are not enough for me. I want to feel that 
I m alive, and that I accomplish something." 

"Yes, I see," said Nina, "you are not nominally like 
me, but really housekeeper. What wonderful skill you 
seem to have ! Is it possible that you keep nothing locked 
up here 1 " 

"No," said Anne, "nothing. I am released from the 
power of the keys, thank fortune! When I first came 
here, everybody told me it was sheer madness to try such 
a thing. But I told them that I was determined to do it, 
and Edward upheld me in it: and you can see how well 
I ve succeeded." 

"Indeed," said Nina, "you must have magic power, for 
I never saw a household move on so harmoniously. All 
your servants seem to think and contrive and take an 
interest in what they are doing. How did you begin? 
What did you do ? " 

"Well," said Anne, "I ll tell you the history of the 
plantation. In the first place, it belonged to mamma s 
uncle; and not to spoil a story for a relation s sake, I 
must say he was a dissipated, unprincipled man. He 
lived a perfectly heathen life here, in the most shocking 
way you can imagine; and so the poor creatures who were 
under him were worse heathen than he. He lived with 
a quadroon woman, who was violent tempered, and when 
angry ferociously cruel; and so the servants were con 
stantly passing from the extreme of indulgence to the 
extreme of cruelty. You can scarce have an idea of the 


state we found them in. My heart almost failed me; but 
Edward said, Don t give it up, Anne; try the good that 
is in them. Well, I confess, it seemed very much as it 
seemed to me when I was once at a water-cure establish 
ment, patients would be brought in languid, pale, cold, 
half dead, and it appeared as if it would kill them to apply 
cold water; but, somehow or other, there was vital power 
in them that reacted under it. Well, just so it was with 
my servants. I called them all together, and I said to 
them, Now, people have always said that you are the 
greatest thieves in the world; that there is no managing 
you except by locking up everything from you. But I 
think differently. I have an idea that you can be trusted. 
I have been telling people that they don t know how much 
good there is in you; and now, just to show them what 
you can do, I m going to begin and leave the closets and 
doors, and everything, unlocked, and I shall not watch 
you. You can take my things, if you choose; and if, 
after a time, I find that you can t be trusted, I shall go 
back to the old way. Well, my dear, I wouldn t have 
believed myself that the thing would have answered so 
well. In the first place, approbativeness is a stronger 
principle with the African race than almost any other; 
they like to be thought well of. Immediately there was 
the greatest spirit in the house, for the poor creatures, 
having suddenly made the discovery that somebody thought 
they were to be trusted, were very anxious to keep up the 
reputation. The elder ones watched the younger; and, 
in fact, my dear, I had very little trouble. The children 
at first troubled me going into my store-closet and getting 
the cake, notwithstanding very spirited government on the 
part of the mammies. So I called my family in session 
again, and said that their conduct had confirmed my good 
opinion; that I always knew they could be trusted, and 
that my friends were astonished to hear how well they 

VOL. I. 

386 DEED 

did; but that I had observed that some of the children 
probably had taken my cake. Now, you know, said I, 
that I have no objection to your having some. If any of 
you would enjoy a piece of cake, I shall be happy to give 
it to them, but it is not agreeable to have things in my 
closet fingered over I shall therefore set a plate of cake 
out every day, and anybody that wishes to take some I 
hope will take that. Well, my dear, my plate of cake 
stood there and dried. You won t believe me, but in fact 
it wasn t touched." 

"Well," said Nina, "I shouldn t think you could have 
had our Tomtit here ! Why, really this goes beyond the 
virtue of white children. 7 

"My dear, it isn t such a luxury to white children to 
be thought well of, and have a character. You must take 
that into account. It was a taste of a new kind of plea 
sure, made attractive by its novelty." 

"Yes," said Nina, "I have something in me which 
makes me feel this would be the right way. I know it 
would be with me. There s nothing like confidence. If 
a person trusts me, I m bound." 

"Yet," said Anne, "I can t get the ladies of my acquaint 
ance to believe in it. They see how I get along, but 
they insist upon it that it s some secret magic, or art, of 
mine. " 

"Well, it is so," said Nina. "Such things are just 
like the divining rod; they won t work in every hand; it 
takes a real, generous, warm-hearted woman, like you, 
Anne. But, could you carry your system through your 
plantation, as well as your house ? " 

"The field-hands were more difficult to manage, on some 
accounts," said Anne, "but the same principle prevailed 
with them. Edward tried all he could to awaken self- 
respect. Now, I counseled that we should endeavor to 
form some decent habits before we built the cabins over. 


I told him they could not appreciate cleanliness and order. 
Very likely they cannot, he said, but we are not to sup 
pose it ; and he gave orders immediately for that pretty 
row of cottages you saw down at the quarters. He put 
up a large bathing-establishment. Yet he did not enforce 
at first personal cleanliness by strict rules. Those who 
began to improve first were encouraged and noticed; and 
as they found this a passport to favor, the thing took rap 
idly. It required a great while to teach them how to be 
consistently orderly and cleanly even after the first desire 
had been awakened, because it is n t every one that likes 
neatness and order who has the forethought and skill 
to secure it. But there has been a steady progress in 
these respects. One curious peculiarity of Edward s man 
agement gives rise to a good many droll scenes. He has 
instituted a sort of jury trial among them. There are 
certain rules for the order and well-being of the planta 
tion, which all agree to abide by; and in all offenses the 
man is tried by a jury of his peers. Mr. Smith, our agent, 
says that these scenes are sometimes very diverting, but 
on the whole there s a good deal of shrewdness and sense 
manifested; but he says that, in general, they incline much 
more to severity than he would. You see, the poor crea 
tures have been so barbarized by the way they have been 
treated in past times, that it has made them hard and 
harsh. I assure you, Nina, I never appreciated the wis 
dom of God, in the laws which he made for the Jews in 
the wilderness, as I have since I ve tried the experiment 
myself of trying to bring a set of slaves out of barbarism. 
Now, this that I m telling you is the fairest side of the 
story. I can t begin to tell you the thousand difficulties 
and trials which we have encountered in it. Sometimes 
I ve been almost worn out and discouraged. But then, 
I think, if there is a missionary work in this world, it is 

388 DEED 

" And what do your neighbors think about it ? " said 

"Well," said Anne, "they are all very polite, well-bred 
people, the families with whom we associate; and such 
people, of course, would never think of interfering, or 
expressing a difference of opinion, in any very open way; 
but I have the impression that they regard it with suspi 
cion. They sometimes let fall words which make me 
think they do. It s a way of proceeding which very few 
would adopt, because it is not a money-making operation, 
by any means. The plantation barely pays for itself, 
because Edward makes that quite a secondary considera 
tion. The thing which excites the most murmuring is our 
teaching them to read. I teach the children myself two 
hours every day, because I think this would be less likely 
to be an offense than if I should hire a teacher. Mr. 
Smith teaches any of the grown men who are willing to 
take the trouble to learn. Any man who performs a cer 
tain amount of labor can secure to himself two or three 
hours a day to spend as he chooses ; and many do choose 
to learn. Some of the men and the women have become 
quite good readers, and Clayton is constantly sending 
books for them. This, I m afraid, gives great offense. 
It is against the law to do it; but as unjust laws are 
sometimes lived down, we thought we would test the prac 
ticability of doing this. There was some complaint made 
of our servants, because they have not the servile, subdued 
air which commonly marks the slave, but look, speak, and 
act, as if they respected themselves. I m sometimes afraid 
that we shall have trouble ; but then, I hope for the best. " 

"What does Mr. Clayton expect to be the end of all 
this?" said Nina. 

"Why," said Anne, "I think Edward has an idea that 
one of these days they may be emancipated on the soil, 
just as the serfs were in England. It looks to me rather 


hopeless, I must say; but he says the best way is for some 
one to begin and set an example of what ought to be done, 
and he hopes that in time it will be generally followed. 
It would, if all men were like him ; but there lies my doubt. 
The number of those who would pursue such a disinterested 
course is very small. But who comes there 1 Upon my 
word, if there is n t my particular admirer, Mr. Brad- 
shaw ! " 

As Anne said this, a very gentlemanly middle-aged man 
came up on horseback, on the carriage-drive which passed 
in front of the veranda. He bore in his hand a large 
bunch of different-colored roses; and alighting, and deliv 
ering his horse to his servant, came up the steps and pre 
sented it to Anne. 

"There," said he, "are the firstfruits of my roses, in 
the garden that I started in Rosedale." 

"Beautiful," said Anne, taking them. "Allow me to 
present to you Miss Gordon." 

"Miss Gordon, your most obedient,^ 7 said Mr. Brad- 
shaw, bowing obsequiously. 

"You are just in season, Mr. Bradshaw," said Anne, 
"for I m sure you couldn t have had your breakfast before 
you started; so sit down and help us with ours." 

"Thank you, Miss Anne," said Mr. Bradshaw, "the 
offer is too tempting to be refused." And he soon estab 
lished himself as a third at the little table, and made him 
self very sociable. 

"Well, Miss Anne, how do all your plans proceed all 
your benevolences and cares 1 I hope your angel ministra 
tions don t exhaust you." 

"Not at all, Mr. Bradshaw; do I look like it? " 

"No, indeed! but such energy is perfectly astonishing 
to us all." 

Nina s practiced eye observed that Mr. Bradshaw had 
that particular nervous, restless air which belongs to a 

390 DEED 

man who is charged with a particular message, and finds 
himself unexpectedly blockaded by the presence of a third 
person. So, after breakfast, exclaiming that she had left 
her crochet-needle in her apartment, and resisting Anne s 
offer to send a servant for it, by declaring that nobody 
could find it but herself, she left the veranda. Mr. Brad- 
shaw had been an old family friend for many years, and 
stood with Anne almost on the easy footing of a relation, 
which gave him the liberty of speaking with freedom. 
The moment the door of the parlor was closed after Nina, 
he drew a chair near to Anne, and sat down, with the 
unmistakable air of a man who is going into a confidential 

"The fact is, my dear Miss Clayton," he said, "I have 
something on my mind that I want to tell you; and I 
hope you will think my long friendship for the family a 
sufficient warrant for my speaking on matters which really 
belong chiefly to yourself. The fact is, my dear Miss 
Clayton, I was at ^a small dinner-party of gentlemen, the 
other day, at Colonel Grandon s. There was a little select 
set there, you know, the Howards, and the Elliotts, and 
the Howlands, and so on, and the conversation happened 
to turn upon your brother. Now, there was the very 
greatest respect for him; they seemed to have the highest 
possible regard for his motives; but still they felt that he 
was going on a very dangerous course." 

" Dangerous ? " said Anne a little startled. 

"Yes, really dangerous; and I think so myself, though 
I, perhaps, don t feel as strongly as some do." 

"Keally," said Anne, "I m quite at a loss!" 

"My dear Miss Anne, it s these improvements, you 
know, which you are making. Don t misapprehend me! 
Admirable, very admirable, in themselves, done from 
the most charming of motives, Miss Anne, but danger 
ous, dangerous ! " 


The solemn, mysterious manner in which these last 
words were pronounced made Anne laugh; but when she 
saw the expression of real concern on the face of her good 
friend, she checked herself, and said, 

"Pray, explain yourself. I don t understand you." 

"Why, Miss Anne, it s just here. We appreciate your 
humanity, and your self-denial, and your indulgence to 
your servants. Everybody is of opinion that it s admira 
ble. You are really quite a model for us all. But when 
it comes to teaching them to read and write, Miss Anne," 
he said, lowering his voice, "I think you don t consider 
what a dangerous weapon you are putting into their hands. 
The knowledge will spread on to the other plantations; 
bright niggers will pick it up ; for the very fellows who are 
most dangerous are the very ones who will be sure to learn. " 

"What if they should? " said Anne. 

"Why, my dear Miss Anne," said he, lowering his 
voice, "the facilities that it will afford them for combina 
tions, for insurrections! You see, Miss Anne, I read a 
story once of a man who made a cork leg with such won 
derful accuracy that it would walk of itself, and when he 
got it on he couldn t stop its walking it walked him to 
death actually did ! Walked him up hill and down 
dale, till the poor man fell down exhausted; and then it 
ran off with his body. And it s running with its skeleton 
to this day, I believe." 

And good-natured Mr. Bradshaw conceived such a ridic 
ulous idea, at this stage of his narrative, that he leaned 
back in his chair and laughed heartily, wiping his perspir 
ing face with a cambric pocket-handkerchief. 

"Really, Mr. Bradshaw, it s a very amusing idea, but 
I don t see the analogy," said Anne. 

"Why, don t you see 1 ? You begin teaching niggers, 
and having reading and writing, and all these things, going 
on, and they begin to open their eyes, and look round and 

392 DEED 

think; and they are having opinions of their own, they 
won t take yours; and they want to rise directly. And if 
they can t rise, why, they are all discontented; and there s 
the what s-his-naine to pay with them ! Then come con 
spiracies and insurrections, no matter how well you treat 
them; and now, we South Carolinians have had experience 
in this matter. You must excuse us, but it is a terrible 
subject with us. Why, the leaders of that conspiracy, all 
of them, were fellows who could read and write, and who 
had nothing in the world to wish for, in the way of com 
fort, treated with every consideration by their masters. It 
is a most melancholy chapter in human nature. It shows 
that there is no trust to be placed in them. And now, 
the best way to get along with negroes, in my opinion, is 
to make them happy; give them plenty to eat and drink 
and wear, and keep them amused and excited, and don t 
work them too hard. I think it s a great deal better than 
this kind of exciting instruction. Mind," he said, seeing 
that Anne was going to interrupt him, "mind, now, I d 
have religious instruction, of course. Now, this system 
of oral instruction, teaching them hymns and passages of 
Scripture suited to their peculiar condition, it s just the 
thing; it isn t so liable to these dangers. I hope you ll 
excuse me, Miss Anne, but the gentlemen really feel very 
serious about these things; they find it s affecting their 
own negroes. You know, somehow everything goes round 
from one plantation to another; and one of them said that 
he had a very smart man who is married to one of your 
women, and he actually found him with a spelling-book, 
sitting out under a tree. He said if the man had had a 
rifle he couldn t have been more alarmed; because the 
man was just one of those sharp, resolute fellows, that, if 
he knew how to read and write, there s no knowing what 
he would do. Well, now, you see how it is. He takes 
the spelling-book away, and he tells him he will give him 


nine-and- thirty if he ever finds him with it again. What a 
the consequence? Why, the consequence is, the man 
sulks and gets ugly, and he has to sell him. That s the 
way it s operating." 

"Well, then," said Anne, looking somewhat puzzled, 
"I will strictly forbid our people to allow spelling-books 
to go out of their hands, or to communicate any of these 
things off of the plantation." 

"Oh, I tell you, Miss Anne, you can t do it. You 
don t know the passion in human nature for anything that 
is forbidden. Now, I believe it s more that than love of 
reading. You can t shut up such an experiment as you 
are making here. It s just like a fire. It will blaze; it 
will catch on all the plantations round; and I assure you 
it s matter of life and death with us. You smile, Miss 
Anne, but it s so." 

"Really, my dear Mr. Bradshaw, you could not have 
addressed me on a more unpleasant subject. I am sorry 
to excite the apprehension of our neighbors ; but " 

"Give me leave to remind you, also, Miss Anne, that 
the teaching of slaves to read and write is an offense to 
which a severe penalty is attached by the laws." 

"I thought," said Anne, "that such barbarous laws were 
a dead letter in a Christian community, and that the best 
tribute I could pay to its Christianity was practically to 
disregard them." 

"By no means, Miss Anne, by no means! Why, look 
at us here in South Carolina. The negroes are three to 
one over the whites now. Will it do to give them the 
further advantages of education and facilities of communi 
cation? You see, at once, it will not. Now, well-bred 
people, of course, are extremely averse to mingling in the 
affairs of other families; and had you merely taught a few 
favorites, in a private way, as I believe people now and 
then do, it wouldn t have seemed so bad; but to have 

394 DKED 

regular provision for teaching school, and school hours 
I think, Miss Anne, you 11 find it will result in unpleasant 
consequences. " 

"Yes, I fancy," said Anne, raising herself up, and 
slightly coloring, "that I see myself in the penitentiary 
for the sin and crime of teaching children to read! I 
think, Mr. Bradshaw, it is time such laws were disre 
garded. Is not that the only way in which many laws are 
repealed? Society outgrows them, people disregard them, 
and so they fall away, like the calyx from some of my 
flowers. Come, now, Mr. Bradshaw, come with me to 
my school. I m going to call it together," said Anne, 
rising, and beginning to go down the veranda steps. 
"Certainly, my dear friend, you ought not to judge with 
out seeing. Wait a moment, till I call Miss Gordon." 

And Anne stepped across the shady parlor, and in a few 
moments reappeared with Nina, both arrayed in white 
cape-bonnets. They crossed to the right of the house, to 
a small cluster of neat cottages, each one of which had its 
little vegetable garden, and its plot in front, carefully 
tended, with flowers. They passed onward into a grove 
of magnolias which skirted the back of the house, till they 
came to a little building, with the external appearance of 
a small Grecian temple, the pillars of which Avere festooned 
with jessamine. 

"Pray what pretty little place is this?" said Mr. Brad 

"This is my schoolroom," said Anne. 

Mr. Bradshaw repressed a whistle of astonishment; but 
the emotion was plainly legible in his face, and Anne said, 

"A lady s schoolroom, you know, should be lady-like. 
Besides, I wish to inspire ideas of taste, refinement, and 
self-respect in these children. I wish learning to be asso 
ciated with the idea of elegance and beauty." 


They ascended the steps, and entered a large room, 
surrounded on three sides by blackboards. The floor was 
covered with white matting, and the walls hung with very 
pretty pictures of French lithographs, tastefully colored. 
In some places cards were hung up, bearing quotations of 
Scripture. There were rows of neat desks, before each of 
which there was a little chair. 

Anne stepped to the door and rang a bell, and in about 
ten minutes the patter of innumerable little feet was heard 
ascending the steps, and presently they came streaming in 
all ages, from four or five to fifteen and from the ebony 
complexion of the negro, with its closely curling wool, to 
the rich brown cheek of the quadroon, with melancholy, 
lustrous eyes and waving hair. All were dressed alike, 
in a neat uniform of some kind of blue stuff, with white 
capes and aprons. 

They filed in to the tune of one of those marked rhyth 
mical melodies which characterize the negro music, and 
moving in exact time to the singing, assumed their seats, 
which were arranged with regard to their age and size. 
As soon as they were seated, Anne, after a moment s 
pause, clapped her hands, and the whole school commenced 
a morning hymn, in four parts, which was sung so beauti 
fully that Mr. Bradshaw, quite overpowered, stood with 
tears in his eyes. Anne nodded at Nina, and cast on him 
a satisfied glance. 

After that there was a rapid review of the classes. 
There was reading, spelling, writing on the blackboard, 
and the smaller ones were formed in groups in two adjoin 
ing apartments, under the care of some of the older girls. 
Anne walked about superintending the whole; and Nina, 
who saw the scene for the first time, could not repress her 
exclamation of delight. The scholars were evidently ani 
mated by the presence of company, and anxious to do 
credit to the school and teacher, and the two hours passed 

396 DEED 

rapidly away. Anne exhibited to Mr. Bradshaw speci 
mens of the proficiency of her scholars in handwriting, 
and the drawing of maps, and even the copying of small 
lithograph cards, which contained a series of simple draw 
ing-patterns. Mr. Bradshaw seemed filled with astonish 

" Pon my word," said he, "these are surprising! Miss 
Anne, you are a veritable magician a worker of miracles ! 
You must have found Aaron s rod, again! My dear 
madam, you run the risk of being burned for a witch ! " 

"Very few, Mr. Bradshaw, know how much of beauty 
lies sealed up in this neglected race," said Anne, with 

As they were walking back to the house, Mr. Bradshaw 
fell a little behind, and his face wore a thoughtful and 
almost sad expression. 

"Well," said Anne, looking round, "a penny for your 
thoughts ! " 

"Oh, I see, Miss Anne, you are for pursuing your 
advantage. I see triumph in your eyes. But yet," he 
added, "after all this display, the capability of your chil 
dren makes me feel sad. To what end is it? What pur 
pose will it serve, except to unfit them for their inevitable 
condition to make them discontented and unhappy 1 " 

"Well," replied Anne, "there ought to be no inevitable 
condition that makes it necessary to dwarf a human mind. 
Any condition which makes a full development of the 
powers that God has given us a misfortune cannot, cer 
tainly, be a healthy one cannot be right. If a mind 
will grow and rise, make way and let it. Make room for 
it, and cut down everything that stands in the way ! " 

"That s terribly leveling doctrine, Miss Anne." 

"Let it level, then!" said Anne. "I don t care! I 
come from the old Virginia Cavalier blood, and am not 
afraid of anything." 


"But, Miss Anne, how do you account for it that the 
best-educated and best-treated slaves in fact, as you say, 
the most perfectly developed human beings were those 
who got up the insurrection in Charleston ? " 

"How do you account for it," said Anne, "that the best- 
developed and finest specimens of men have been those that 
have got up insurrections in Italy, Austria, and Hungary ? " 

"Well, you admit, then," said Mr. Bradshaw, "that if 
you say A in this matter, you ve got to say B? " 

"Certainly," said Anne, "and when the time comes to 
say B I m ready to say it. I admit, Mr. Bradshaw, it s a 
very dangerous thing to get up steam, if you don t intend 
to let the boat go. But when the steam is high enough, 
let her go, say I." 

"Yes, but, Miss Anne, other people don t want to say 
so. The fact is, we are not all of us ready to let the boat 
go. It s got all our property in it all we have to live 
on. If you are willing yourself, so far as your people are 
concerned, they 11 inevitably want liberty, and you say 
you 11 be ready to give it to them; but your fires will raise 
a steam on our plantations, and we must shut down these 
escape- valves. Don t you see 1 ? Now, for my part, I ve 
been perfectly charmed with this school of yours; but, 
after all, I can t help inquiring whereto it will grow." 

"Well, Mr. Bradshaw," said Anne, "I m obliged to 
you for the frankness of this conversation. It s very 
friendly and sincere. I think, however, I shall continue 
to compliment the good sense and gallantry of this state, 
by ignoring its unworthy and unchristian laws. I will 
endeavor, nevertheless, to be more careful and guarded as to 
the manner of what I do ; but if I should be put into the 
penitentiary, Mr. Bradshaw, I hope you 11 call on me." 

"Miss Anne, I beg ten thousand pardons for that unfor 
tunate allusion." 

"I think," said Anne, "I shall impose it as a penance 

398 DEED 

upon you to stay and spend the day with us, and then I 11 
show you my rose-garden. I have great counsel to hold 
with you on the training of a certain pillar-rose. You see, 
my design is to get you involved in my treason. You ve 
already come into complicity with it, by visiting my school. " 

"Thank you, Miss Anne; I should be only too much 
honored to be your abettor in any treason you might medi 
tate. But, really, I in a most unlucky dog! Think of 
my having four bachelor friends engaged to dine with me, 
and so being obliged to decline your tempting offer ! In fact, 
I must take horse before the sun gets any hotter." 

"There he goes, for a good-hearted creature as he is!" 
said Anne. 

"Do you know," said Nina, laughing, "that I thought 
that he was some poor desperate mortal who was on the 
verge of a proposal, this morning, and I ran away like a 
good girl to give him a fair field ? " 

"Child," said Anne, "you are altogether too late in the 
day. Mr. Bradshaw and I walked that little figure some 
time ago, and now he is one of the most convenient and 
agreeable of friends." 

"Anne, why in the world don t you get in love with 
somebody 1 " said Nina. 

"My dear, I think there was something or other left out 
when I was made up," said Anne, laughing, "but I never 
had much of a fancy for the lords of creation. They do 
tolerably well till they come to be lovers; but then they 
are perfectly unbearable. Lions in love, my dear, don t 
appear to advantage, you know. I can t marry papa or 
Edward, and they have spoiled me for everybody else. 
Besides, I m happy, and what do I w r ant of any of 
them? Can t there be now and then a woman sufficient 
to herself? But, Nina, dear, I m sorry that our affairs 
here are giving offense and making uneasiness." 

"For my part," said Nina, "I should go right on. I 


have noticed that people try all they can to stop a person 
who is taking an unusual course; and when they are per 
fectly certain that they can t stop him, then they turn 
round and fall in with him; and I think that will be the 
case with you." 

"They certainly will have an opportunity of trying," 
said Anne. "But there is Dulcimer coming up the avenue 
with the letter-bag. Now, child, I don t believe you 
appreciate half my excellence, when you consider that I 
used to have all these letters that fall to you every mail." 

At this moment Dulcimer rode up to the veranda steps, 
and deposited the letter-bag in Anne s hands. 

"What an odd name you have given him! " said Nina, 
" and what a comical-looking fellow he is ! He has a sort 
of waggish air that reminds me of a crow." 

"Oh, Dulcimer don t belong to our regime," said Anne. 
"He was the prime minister and favorite under the for 
mer reign, a sort of licensed court jester, and to this 
day he hardly knows how to do anything but sing and 
dance; and so brother, who is for allowing the largest 
liberty to everybody, imposes on him only such general and 
light tasks as suit his roving nature. But there ! " she 
said throwing a letter on Nina s lap, and at the same time 
breaking the seal of one directed to herself. "Ah, I 
thought so ! You see, puss, Edward has some law business 
that takes him to this part of the state forthwith. Was 
ever such convenient law business 1 We may look for him 
to-night. Now there will be rejoicings! How now, Dul 
cimer 1 ? I thought you had gone," she said, looking up, 
and observing that personage still lingering in the shade 
of a tulip-tree near the veranda. 

"Please, Miss Anne, is Master Clayton coming home 
to-night 1 " 

"Yes, Dulcimer; so now go and spread the news; for 
that s what you want, I know." 

400 DEED 

And Dulcimer, needing no second suggestion, was out of 
sight in the shrubbery in a few moments. 

"Now, I ll wager," said Anne, "that creature will get 
up something or other extraordinary for this evening." 

"Such as what? " said Nina. 

"Well, he is something of a troubadour, and I shouldn t 
wonder if he should be cudgeling his brain at this moment 
for a song. We shall have some kind of operatic perform 
ance, you may be sure." 



ABOUT five o clock in the evening Nina and Anne 
amused themselves with setting a fancy tea-table on the 
veranda. Nina had gathered a quantity of the leaves of 
the live-oak which she possessed a particular faculty of 
plaiting in long, flat wreaths, and with these she garlanded 
the social round table, after it had been draped in its snowy 
damask, while Anne was busy arranging fruit in dishes 
with vine leaves. 

"Lettice will be in despair to-night," said Anne, looking 
up and smiling at a neatly dressed brown mulatto girl, who 
stood looking on with large lustrous eyes; "her occupa 
tion s gone! " 

"Oh, Lettice must allow me to show my accomplish 
ments," said Nina. "There are some household arts that I 
have quite a talent for. If I had lived in what s-its- 
name there, that they used to tell about in old times 
Arcadia I should have made a good housekeeper; for 
nothing suits me better than making wreaths, and arranging 
bouquets. My nature is dressy. I want to dress every 
thing. I want to dress tables and dress vases, and adorn 
dishes, and dress handsome women, Anne! So look out 
for yourself, for when I have done crowning the table, I 
shall crown you ! " 

As Nina talked, she was flitting hither and thither, 
taking up and laying down flowers and leaves, shaking 
out long sprays, and fluttering from place to place, like a 

VOL. I. 

402 DEED 

"It s a pity," said Anne, "that life can t be all Arca 

"Oh yes!" said Nina. "When I was a child, I re 
member there was an old torn translation of a book called 
Gesner s Idyls, that used to lie about the house; and I 
used to read in it most charming little stories about hand 
some shepherds, dressed in white, playing on silver and 
ivory flutes; and shepherdesses, with azure mantles and 
floating hair; and people living on such delightful things 
as cool curds and milk and grapes and strawberries and 
peaches ; and there was no labor, and no trouble, and no 
dirt, and no care. Everybody lived like the flowers and 
the birds, growing and singing and being beautiful. Ah, 
dear, I have never got over wanting it since! Why 
couldn t it be so?" 

"It s a thousand pities!" said Anne. "But what 
constant fight we have to maintain for order and beauty ! " 

"Yes," said Nina; "and, what seems worse, beauty 
itself becomes dirt in a day. Now, these roses that we 
are arranging, to-morrow or next day we shall call them 
litter, and wish somebody would sweep them out of the 
way. But I never want to be the one to do that. I want 
some one to carry away the withered flowers and wash the 
soiled vases; but I want to be the one to cut the fresh 
roses every day. If I were in an association, I should take 
that for my part. I d arrange all their flowers through the 
establishment, but I should stipulate expressly that I 
should do no clearing up." 

"Well," said Anne, "it s really a mystery to me what a 
constant downward tendency there is to everything how 
everything is gravitating back as you may say into dis 
order. Now, I think a cleanly, sweet, tasteful house, and, 
above all, table, are among the highest works of art. And 
yet, how everything attacks you when you set out to attain 
it flies, cockroaches, ants, mosquitoes ! And then, it 


seems to be the fate of all human beings, that they are 
constantly wearing out and disarranging and destroying all 
that is about them." 

"Yes," said Nina, "I couldn t help thinking of that 
when we were at the camp-meeting. The first day I was 
perfectly charmed. Everything was so fresh, so cool, so 
dewy and sweet; but by the end of the second day they 
had thrown egg-shells and pea-pods and melon-rinds and 
all sorts of abominations around among the tents, and it 
was really shocking to contemplate." 

" How disgusting ! " said Anne. 

"Now, I m one of that sort," said Nina, "that love 
order dearly, but don t want the trouble of it myself. My 
prime minister, Aunt Katy, thanks to mamma, is an excel 
lent hand to keep it, and I encourage her in it with all my 
heart; so that any part of the house where I don t go 
much is in beautiful order. But, bless me, I should have 
to be made over again before I could do like Aunt Nesbit! 
Did you ever see her take a pair of gloves or a collar out 
of a drawer? She gets up, and walks so moderately 
across the room, takes the key from under the napkin on 
the right-hand side of the bureau, and unlocks the drawer 
as gravely as though she was going to offer a sacrifice. 
Then, if her gloves are at the back side, underneath some 
thing else, she takes out one thing after another so moder 
ately ; and then, when the gloves or collar are found, lays 
everything back exactly where it was before, locks the 
drawer, and puts the key back under the towel. And all 
this she d do if anybody was dying, and she had to go for 
the doctor! The consequence is, that her room, her 
drawers, and everything are a standing sermon to me. 
But I think I ve got to be a much calmer person than I 
am before this will come to pass in my case. I m always 
in such a breeze and flutter ! I fly to my drawer and scat 
ter things into little whirlwinds; ribbons, scarf, flowers 

404 DEED 

everything flies out in a perfect rainbow. It seems as if 
I should die if I didn t get the thing I wanted that min 
ute; and after two or three such attacks on a drawer, then 
comes repentance, and a long time of rolling up and arrang 
ing, and talking to little naughty Nina, who always prom 
ises herself to keep better order in future. But, my dear, 
she doesn t do it, I m sorry to say, as yet, though perhaps 
there are hopes of her in future. Tell me, Anne, you are 
not stiff and poky, and yet you seem to be endowed with 
the gift of order. How did it come about ? " 

"It was not natural to me, I assure you," said Anne. 
"It was a second nature, drilled into me by mamma. 7 

" Mamma ! ah, indeed ! " said Nina, giving a sigh. 
"Then you are very happy! But, come now, Lettice, 
I ve done with all these; take them away. My tea-table 
has risen out of them like the world out of chaos," she 
said, as she swept together a heap of rejected vines, leaves, 
and flowers. "Ah! I always have a repenting turn, when 
I ve done arranging vases, to think I ve picked so many 
more than were necessary ! The poor flowers droop their 
leaves and look at me reproachfully, as if they said, You 
did n t want us why could n t you have left us alone ? : 

"Oh," said Anne, "Lettice will relieve you of that. 
She has great talents in the floral line, and out of these she 
will arrange quantities of bouquets," she said, as Lettice, 
blushing perceptibly through her brown skin, stooped and 
swept up the rejected flowers into her apron. 

" What have we here ? " said Anne, as Dulcimer, attired 
with most unusual care, came bowing up the steps, present 
ing a note on a waiter. " Dear me, how stylish ! gilt-edged 
paper smelling of myrrh and ambergris ! " she continued, as 
she broke the seal. "What s this? 

" The Magnolia Grove troubadours request the presence 
of Mr. and Miss Clayton and Miss Gordon at an operatic 


performance, which will be given this evening at eight 
o clock, in the grove. 

"Very well done! I fancy some of my scholars have 
been busy with the writing. Dulcimer, we shall be happy 
to come." 

" Where upon earth did he pick up those phrases ? " said 
Nina, when he had departed. 

"Oh," said Anne, "I told you that he was prime favor 
ite of the former proprietor, who used to take him with him 
wherever he traveled, as people sometimes will a pet mon 
key; and, I dare say, he has lounged round the lobbies of 
many an opera house. I told you that he was going to 
get up something." 

"What a delightful creature he must be! " said Nina. 

"Perhaps so, to you," said Anne; "but he is a trouble 
some person to manage. He is as wholly destitute of any 
moral organs as a jackdaw. One sometimes questions 
whether these creatures have any more than a reflected 
mimicry of a human soul such as the German stories 
imagine in kobolds and water- spirits. All I can see in 
Dulcimer is a kind of fun-loving animal. He don t seem 
to have any moral nature." 

"Perhaps," said Nina, "his moral nature is something 
like the cypress-vine seeds which I planted three months 
ago, and which have just come up." 

" Well, I believe Edward expects to see it along, one of 
these days," said Anne. "His faith in human nature is 
unbounded. I think it one of his foibles, for my part; 
but yet I try to have hopes of Dulcimer, that some day or 
other he will have some glimmering perceptions of the 
difference between a lie and the truth, and between his 
own things and other people s. At present, he is the most 
lawless marauder on the place. He has been so used to 
having his wit to cover a multitude of sins, that it s dim- 

406 DEED 

cult for a scolding to make any impression on him. But, 
hark! isn t that a horse 1 ? Somebody is coming up the 
avenue. " 

Both listened. 

"There are two," said Nina. 

Just at this instant Clayton emerged to view accompanied 
by another rider, who, on nearer view, turned out to be 
Frank Russel. At the same instant, the sound of violins 
and banjos was heard, and, to Anne s surprise, a gayly 
dressed procession of servants and children began to file 
out from the grove, headed by Dulcimer and several of his 
associates, playing and singing. 

"There," said Anne, "didn t I tell you so. There s 
the beginning of Dulcimer s operations." 

The air was one of those inexpressibly odd ones whose 
sharp, metallic accuracy of rhythm seems to mark the de 
light which the negro race feel in that particular element of 
music. The words, as usual, amounted to very little. 
Nina and Anne could hear, 

" Oh, I see de mas r a-comin up de track, 
His horse s heels do clatter, with a clack, clack, clack! " 

The idea conveyed in these lines being still further carried 
out by the regular clapping of hands at every accented 
note, while every voice joined in the chorus: 

" Sing, boys, sing; de mas r is come! 
Give three cheers for de good man at home! 
Ho! he! ho! Hurra! hurra!" 

Clayton acknowledged the compliment as he came up, by 
bowing from his horse; and the procession arranged itself 
in a kind of lane, through which he and his companion 
rode up to the veranda. 

" Pon my word," said Frank Russel, "I wasn t pre 
pared for such a demonstration. Quite a presidential re 
ception ! " 

When Clayton came to the steps and dismounted, a dozen 


sprang eagerly forward to take his horse, and in the crowd 
ing round for a word of recognition the order of the pro 
cession was entirely broken. After many kind words, and 
inquiries in every direction for a few moments, the people 
quietly retired, leaving their master to his own enjoyments. 

"You really have made quite a triumphal entry," said 

"Dulcimer always exhausts himself on all such occa 
sions," said Anne, "so that he isn t capable of any further 
virtue for two or three weeks." 

" Well, take him while he is in flower, then ! " said E.US- 
sel. "But how perfectly cool and inviting you look. 
Really, quite idyllic ! We must certainly have got into a 
fairy queen s castle! " 

"But you must show us somewhere to shake the dust 
off of our feet, " said Clayton. 

"Yes," said Anne, "there s Aunt Praw waiting to show 
you your room. Go and make yourselves as fascinating as 
you can." 

In a little while the gentlemen returned, in fresh white 
linen suits, and the business of the tea-table proceeded with 

"Well, now," said Anne, after tea, looking at her watch, 
"I must inform the company that we are all engaged to the 
opera this evening." 

"Yes," said Nina, "the Magnolia Grove Opera House is 
to be opened, and the Magnolia Troubadour Troupe to ap 
pear for the first time." 

At this moment they were surprised by the appearance, 
below the veranda, of Dulcimer, with three of his colored 
associates, all wearing white ribbons in their buttonholes, 
and carrying white wands tied with satin ribbon, and 
gravely arranging themselves two and two on each side of 
the steps. 

"Why, Dulcimer, what s this?" said Clayton. 

408 DEED 

Dulcimer bowed with the gravity of a raven, and an 
nounced that the committee had come to wait on the gen 
tlemen and ladies to their seats. 

"Oh," said Anne, "we were not prepared for our part 
of the play ! " 

"What a pity I did n t bring my opera-hat ! " said Nina. 
"Never mind," she said, snatching a spray of multiflora 
rose, "this will do." And she gave it one twist round her 
head, and her toilet was complete. 

" Pon my word, that s soon done! " said Frank Russel, 
as he watched the coronet of half-opened buds and roses. 

"Yes," said Nina. "Sit down, Anne; I forgot your 
crown. There, wait a moment; let me turn this leaf a 
little, and weave these buds in here so. Now you are a 
Baltimore belle, to be sure ! Now for the procession. " 

The opera house for the evening was an open space in 
the grove behind the house. Lamps had been hung up in 
the trees, twinkling on the glossy foliage. A sort of booth 
or arbor was built of flowers and leaves at one end, to 
which the party were marshaled in great state. Between 
two magnolia-trees a white curtain was hung up; and the 
moment the family party made their appearance, a chorus 
of voices from behind the scenes began an animated song 
of welcome. 

As soon as the party was seated the curtain rose, and 
the chorus, consisting of about thirty of the best singers, 
males and females, came forward, dressed in their best holi 
day costume, singing, and keeping step as they sung, and 
bearing in their hands bouquets, which, as they marched 
round the circle, they threw at the feet of the company. 
A wreath of orange-blossoms was significantly directed at 
Nina, and fell right into her lap. 

"These people seem to have had their eyes open. Com 
ing events cast their shadows before ! " said Russel. 

After walking around, the chorus seated themselves at the 


side of the area, and the space behind was filled up with a 
dense sea of heads all the servants and plantation hands. 

"I declare," said Russel, looking round on the crowd 
of dark faces, "this sable cloud is turning a silver lining 
with a witness ! How neat and pretty that row of children 
looks ! " And as they spoke, a procession of the children 
of Anne s school came filing round in the same manner that 
the other had done, singing their school songs, and casting 
flowers before the company. After this, they seated 
themselves on low seats in front of all the others. 

Dulcimer and four of his companions now came into the 

"There," said Anne, "Dulcimer is going to be the 
centre-piece. He is the troubadour." 

Dulcimer, in fact, commenced a kind of recitative, to 
the tune "Mas r ; s in the cold, cold ground." After sing 
ing a few lines, the quartette took up the chorus, and their 
voices were really magnificent. 

"Why," said Nina, "it seems to me they are beginning 
in a very doleful way." 

"Oh," said Anne, "wait a minute. This is the old 
mas r, I fancy. We shall soon hear the tune changed." 

And accordingly, Dulcimer, striking into a new tune, 
began to rehearse the coming in of a new master. 

"There," said Anne, "now for a catalogue of Edward s 
virtues! They must all be got in, rhyme or no rhyme." 

Dulcimer kept on rehearsing. Every four lines the quar 
tette struck in with the chorus, which was then repeated 
by the whole company, clapping their hands and stamping 
their feet to the time, with great vivacity. 

"Now, Anne, is coming your turn," said Nina, as Dul 
cimer launched out, in most high-flown strains, on the 
beauty of Miss Anne. 

"Yes," said Clayton, "the catalogue of your virtues will 
be something extensive." 

410 DRED 

"I shall escape, at any rate," said Nina. 

"Don t you be too sure," said Anne. "Dulcimer has 
had his eye on you ever since you ve been here." 

And true enough, after the next stanza, Dulcimer assumed 
a peculiarly meaning expression. 

"There," said Anne, "do see the wretch flirting himself 
out like a saucy crow! It s coming! Now look out, 

With a waggish expression from the corner of his down 
cast eyes, he sung : 

" Oh, mas r is often absent do you know where he goes ? 
He goes to North Carolina, for de North Carolina rose." 

"There you are!" said Frank Eussel. "Do you see 
the grin going round 1 What a lot of ivory ! They are 
coming in this chorus, strong ! " 

And the whole assembly, with great animation, poured 
out on the chorus : 

" Oh, de North Carolina rose! 
Oh, de North Carolina rose! 
We wish good luck to mas r, 
With de North Carolina rose ! " 

This chorus was repeated with enthusiasm, clapping of 

hands, and laughing. 

" I think the North Carolina rose ought to rise ! " said 


"Oh, hush!" said Anne; "Dulcimer hasn t done yet." 
Assuming an attitude, Dulcimer turned and sang to one 

of his associates in the quartette : 

" Oh, I see two stars arising, 
Up in de shady skies! " 

To which the other responded, with animation : 

" No, boy, you are mistaken; 
T is de light of her fair eyes! " 

"That s thorough, at any rate! " said Eussel. 
While Dulcimer went on : 

"Oh, I see two roses blowing, 
Togeder on one bed! " 


And the other responded : 

"No, boy, you are mistaken; 
Dem are her cheeks so red! " 

"And they are getting redder!" said Anne, tapping 
Nina with her fan. "Dulcimer is evidently laying out his 
strength upon you, Nina ! " 

Dulcimer went on singing : 

" Oh, I see a grapevine running, 
With its curly rings, up dere ! " 

And the response : 

"No, boy, you are mistaken; 
Tis her rings of curly hair! " 

And the quartette here struck up : 

" Oh, she walks on de veranda, 

And she laughs out of de door, 
And she dances like de sunshine 

Across de parlor floor. 
Her little feet, dey patter, 

Like de rain upon de flowers ; 
And her laugh is like sweet waters, 

Through all de summer hours! " 

"Dulcimer has had help from some of the muses along 
there ! " said Clayton, looking at Anne. 

"Hush!" said Anne; "hear the chorus." 

"Oh, de North Carolina rose! 
Oh, de North Carolina rose! 
Oh, plant by our veranda 
De North Carolina rose! " 

This chorus was repeated with three times three, and 
the whole assembly broke into a general laugh, when the 
performers bowed and retired, and the white sheet, which 
was fastened by a pulley to the limb of a tree, was let down 

"Come, now, Anne, confess that wasn t all Dulcimer s 
work ! " said Clayton. 

"Well, to tell the truth," said Anne, " twas got up 
between him and Lettice, who has a natural turn for versi- 

412 DEED 

fying, quite extraordinary. If I chose to encourage and 
push her on, she might turn out a second Phillis Wheat- 

Dulcimer and his coadjutors now came round, bearing 
trays with lemonade, cake, sliced pineapples, and some 
other fruits. 

"Well, on my word," said Eussel, "this is quite prettily 
got up ! " 

"Oh, I think," said Clayton, "the African race evi 
dently are made to excel in that department which lies 
between the sensuous and the intellectual what we call 
the elegant arts. These require rich and abundant animal 
nature, such as they possess; and if ever they become 
highly civilized, they will excel in music, dancing, and 

"I have often noticed," said Anne, "in my scholars, 
how readily they seize upon anything which pertains to 
the department of music and language. The negroes are 
sometimes laughed at for mispronouncing words, which 
they will do in a very droll manner; but it s only because 
they are so taken with the sounds of words that they will 
try to pronounce beyond the sphere of their understanding, 
like bright children." 

"Some of these voices here are perfectly splendid," said 

"Yes," said Anne, "we have one or two girls on the 
place who have that rich contralto voice which, I think, 
is oftener to be found among them than among whites. " 

"The Ethiopian race is a slow-growing plant, like the 
aloe," said Clayton; "but I hope, some of these days, 
they ll come into flower; and I think, if they ever do, 
the blossoming will be gorgeous." 

"That will do for a poet s expectation," said Russel. 

The performance now gave place to a regular dancing- 
party, which went on with great animation, yet decorum. 


"Religious people," said Clayton, "who have instructed 
the negroes, I think have wasted a great deal of their 
energy in persuading them to give up dancing and singing- 
songs. I try to regulate the propensity. There is no use 
in trying to make the negroes into Anglo-Saxons any more 
than making a grapevine into a pear-tree. I train the 
grapevine. " 

"Behold," said Russel, "the successful champion of 
negro rights ! " 

"Not so very successful," said Clayton. "I suppose 
you ve heard my case has been appealed; so that my vic 
tory isn t so certain, after all." 

"Oh," said Nina, "yes, it must be! I m sure no 
person of common sense would decide any other way; and 
your own father is one of the judges, too." 

"That will only make him the more careful not to be 
influenced in my favor," said Clayton. 

The dancing now broke up, and the servants dispersed 
in an orderly manner, and the company returned to the 
veranda, which lay pleasantly checkered with the light of 
the moon falling through trailing vines. The air was full 
of those occasional pulsations of fragrance which rise in 
the evening from flowers. 

"Oh, how delightful," said Nina, "this fragrance of the 
honeysuckles! I have a perfect passion for perfumes! 
They seem to me like spirits in the air." 

"Yes," said Clayton, "Lord Bacon says, that the 
breath of flowers comes and goes in the air, like the war 
bling of music. 

"Did Lord Bacon say that?" said Nina in a tone of 

"Yes; why not?" said Clayton. 

"Oh, I thought he was one of those musty old philoso 
phers who never thought of anything pretty ! " 

"Well," said Clayton, "then to-morrow let me read you 

414 DEED 

his essay on gardens, and you 11 find musty old philoso 
phers often do think of pretty things." 

"It was Lord Bacon," said Anne, "who always wanted 
musicians playing in the next room while he was compos 

"He did?" said Nina. "Why, how delightful of him! 
I think I should like to hear some of his essays." 

"There are some minds," said Clayton, "large enough 
to take in everything. Such men can talk as prettily of 
a ring on a lady s finger as they can wisely on the courses 
of the planets. Nothing escapes them." 

"That s the kind of man you ought to have for a lover, 
Anne," said Nina, laughing; "you have weight enough to 
risk it. I m such a little whisk of thistledown that it 
would annihilate me. Such a ponderous weight of wisdom 
attached to me would drag me under water, and drown me. 
I should let go my line, I think, if I felt such a fish bite." 

"You are tolerably safe in our times, said Clayton. 
"Nature only sends such men once in a century or two. 
They are the road-makers for the rest of the world. They 
are quarry-masters, that quarry out marble enough for a 
generation to work up." 

"Well," said Nina, "I shouldn t want to be a quarry- 
master s wife. I should be afraid that some of his blocks 
would fall on me." 

"W^hy, wouldn t you like it, if he were wholly your 
slave?" said Frank Russel. "It would be like having 
the genius of the lamp at your feet." 

"Ah," said Nina, "if I could keep him my slave; but 
I m afraid he 7 d outwit me at last. Such a man would 
soon put me up on a shelf for a book read through. I ve 
seen some great men, I mean great for our times, and 
they didn t seem to care half as much for their wives as 
they did for a newspaper." 

"Oh," said Anne, "that s past praying for, with any 


husband. The newspaper is the standing rival of the 
American lady. It must be a warm lover that can be 
attracted from that, even before he is secure of his prize." 

"You are severe, Miss Anne," said Eussel. 

"She only speaks the truth. You men are a bad set," 
said Kina. "You are a kind of necessary evil, half civi 
lized at best. But if ever I set up an establishment, I 
shall insist upon taking precedence of the newspaper." 


WOULD the limits of our story admit of it, we should 
gladly linger many days in the shady precincts of Magnolia 
Grove, where Clayton and Nina remained some days 
longer, and where the hours flew by on flowery feet; but 
the inevitable time and tide, which wait for no man, wait 
not for the narrator. We must therefore say, in brief, 
that when the visit was concluded Clayton accompanied 
Nina once more to Canema, and returned to the circle of 
his own duties. 

Nina returned to her own estate, with views somewhat 
chastened and modified by her acquaintance with Anne. 
As Clayton supposed, the influence of a real noble purpose 
in life had proved of more weight than exhortations, and 
she began to feel within herself positive aspirations for 
some more noble and worthy life than she had heretofore 
led. That great, absorbing feeling which determines the 
whole destiny of woman s existence is in its own nature 
an elevating and purifying one. It is such even when 
placed on an unworthy object, and much more so when the 
object is a worthy one. Since the first of their friendship, 
Clayton had never officiously sought to interfere with the 
growth and development of Nina s moral nature. He had 
sufficient sagacity to perceive that, unconsciously to her 
self, a deeper power of feeling, and a wider range of 
thought, was opening within her; and he left the develop 
ment of it to the same quiet forces which swell the rosebud 
and guide the climbing path of the vine. Simply and 


absolutely he lived his own life before her, and let hers 
alone; and the power of his life therefore became absolute. 

A few mornings after her return, she thought that she 
would go out and inquire after the welfare of our old friend 
Tiff. It was a hazy, warm, bright summer morning, and 
all things lay in that dreamy stillness, that trance of volup 
tuous rest, which precedes the approach of the fiercer heats 
of the day. Since her absence there had been evident 
improvement in Tiff s affairs. The baby, a hearty, hand 
some little fellow, by dint of good nursing, pork- sucking, 
and lying outdoors in the tending of breezes and zephyrs, 
had grown to be a creeping creature, and followed Tiff 
around, in his garden ministrations, with unintelligible 
chatterings of delight. 

At the moment when Nina rode up Tiff was busy with 
his morning work in the garden. His appearance, it is to 
be confessed, was somewhat peculiar. He usually wore, 
in compliment to his nursing duties, an apron in front; 
but as his various avocations pressed hard upon his time, 
and as his own personal outfit was ever the last to be 
attended to, Tiff s nether garments had shown traces of 
that frailty which is incident to all human things. 

"Bress me," he said to himself, that morning, as he 
with difficulty engineered his way into them, "holes here, 
and holes dar! Don t want but two holes in my breeches, 
and I s got two dozen! Got my foot through de wrong 
place! For old Tiff! Laws-a-massy ! wish I could get 
hold of some of dem dar clothes dey were telling bout at 
de camp-meeting, dey wore forty years in de wilderness! 
Mazing handy dem ar times was! Well, anyhow, I ll 
tie an apron behind, and another in front. Bress de 
Lord, I s got aprons, anyhow! I must make up a par of 
breeches, some of dese yer days, when de baby s teeth is 
all through, and Teddy s clothes don t want no mending, 
and de washing is done, and dese yer weeds stops a-grow- 

VOL. I. 

418 DEED 

ing in de garden. Bress if I know what de Lord want 
of so many weeds Pears like dey comes just to plague 
us; but den, we doesn t know. Maybe dere s some good 
in em. We doesn t know but a leetle, noway. 7 

Tiff was sitting on the ground weeding one of his gar 
den-beds, when he was surprised by the apparition of Nina 
on horseback coming up to the gate. Here was a di 
lemma, to be sure ! No cavalier had a more absolute con 
ception of the nature of politeness, and the claims of 
beauty, rank, and fashion, than Tiff. Then, to be caught 
sitting on the ground, with a blue apron on in front and 
a red one on behind, was an appalling dilemma! How 
ever, as our readers may have discovered, Tiff had that 
essential requisite of good breeding, the moral courage to 
face an exigency; and wisely considering that a want of 
cordiality is a greater deficiency than the want of costume, 
he rose up, without delay, and hastened to the gate to 
acknowledge the honor. 

"Lord bress yer sweet face, Miss Nina!" he said, while 
the breezes flapped and fluttered his red and blue sails, 
" Old Tiff s mazin happy to see you. Miss Fanny s well, 
thank ye; and Mas r Teddy and the baby all doing nicely. 
Bress de Lord, Miss Nina, be so good as to get down and 
come in. I s got some nice berries dat I picked in de 
swamp, and Miss Fanny 11 be proud to have you take 
some. You see," he said, laughing heartily, and regarding 
his peculiar costume, "I wasn t looking for any quality 
long dis yer time o day, so I just got on my old clothes." 

"Why, Uncle Tiff, I think they become you im 
mensely ! " said Nina. " Your outfit is really original and 
picturesque. You re not one of the people that are 
ashamed of their work, are you, Uncle Tiff? So if you 
just lead my horse to that stump, I 11 get down." 

"Laws, no, Miss Nina!" said Tiff, as with alacrity he 
obeyed her orders. "Spects, if Old Tiff was shamed of 


work, he d have a heap to be shamed of; cause it s 
pretty much all work with him. T is so! " 

"Tomtit pretended to come with me," said Nina, as she 
looked round; "but he lagged behind by the brook to get 
some of those green grapes, and I suspect it s the last I 
shall see of him. So, Tiff, if you please to tie Sylphine 
in the shade, I 11 go in to see Miss Fanny." 

And Nina tripped lightly up the walk, now bordered on 
either side by china asters and marigolds, to where Fanny 
was standing bashfully in the door waiting for her. In her 
own native woods this child was one of the boldest, freest, 
and happiest of romps. There was scarce an eligible tree 
which she could not climb, or a thicket she had not ex 
plored. She was familiar with every flower, every bird, every 
butterfly, of the vicinity. She knew precisely when every 
kind of fruit would ripen, and flower would blossom; and 
was so au fait in the language of birds and squirrels, that 
she might almost have been considered one of the frater 
nity. Her only companion and attendant, Old Tiff, had 
that quaint, fanciful, grotesque nature which is the furthest 
possible removed from vulgarity ; and his frequent lectures 
on proprieties and conventionalities, his long and prolix 
narrations of her ancestral glories and distinctions, had 
succeeded in infusing into her a sort of childish conscious 
ness of dignity, while at the same time it inspired her with 
a bashful awe of those whom she saw surrounded with the 
actual insignia and circumstances of position and fortune. 
After all, Tiff s method of education, instinctive as it was, 
was highly philosophical, since a certain degree of self- 
respect is the nurse of many virtues, and a shield from 
many temptations. There is also something, perhaps, in 
the influence of descent. Fanny certainly inherited from 
her mother a more delicate organization than generally 
attends her apparent station in life. She had, also, what 
perhaps belongs to the sex, a capability of receiving the 

420 DEED 

mysteries and proprieties of dress; and Nina, as she stood 
on the threshold of the single low room, could not but be 
struck with the general air of refinement which character 
ized both it and its little mistress. There were flowers 
from the swamps and hedges arranged with care and taste; 
feathers of birds, strings of eggs of different colors, dried 
grasses, and various little woodland curiosities, which 
showed a taste refined by daily intercourse with nature. 
Fanny herself was arrayed in a very pretty print dress, 
which her father had brought home in a recent visit, with 
a cape of white muslin. Her brown hair was brushed 
smoothly from her forehead, and her clear blue eyes, and 
fair, rosy complexion, gave her a pleasing air of intelli 
gence and refinement. 

"Thank you," said Nina, as Fanny offered her the only 
chair the establishment afforded; "but I m going with Tiff 
out in the garden. I never can bear to be in the house 
such days as this. You didn t expect me over so early, 
Uncle Tiff; but I took a notable turn, this morning, and 
routed them up to an early breakfast, on purpose that I 
might have time to get over here before the heat came on. 
It s pleasant out here, now the shadow of the woods falls 
across the garden so. How beautifully those trees wave ! 
Tiff, go on with your work never mind me. " 

"Yes, Miss Nina, it s mighty pleasant. Why, I was 
out in dis yer garden at four o clock dis morning, and 
peared like dese yer trees was waving like a psalm, so sort 
o still, you know ! Kind o spreading out der hands like 
dey d have prayers; and dere was a mighty handsome star 
a-looking down. I spects dat ar star is one of de very 
oldest families up dar." 

" Most likely, " said Nina cheerily. " They call it Venus, 
the star of love, Uncle Tiff; and I believe that is a very 
old family." 

"Love is a mighty good ting, anyhow," said Tiff. 


"Lord bress you, Miss Nina, it makes everyting go kind 
o easy. Sometimes, when I m studding upon dese yer 
tings, I says to myself, pears like de trees in de wood, 
dey loves each oder. Dey stands kind o locking arms so, 
and dey kind o nod der heads, and whispers so! Pears 
like de grapevines, and de birds, and all dem ar tings, 
dey lives comfortable togeder, like dey was peaceable, and 
liked each oder. Now, folks is apt to get a-stewin and 
a-frettin round, and turning up der noses at dis yer ting, 
and dat ar; but pears like de Lord s works takes every- 
ting mighty easy. Dey just kind o lives along peaceable. 
I tink it s mighty structive! " 

"Certainly it is," said Nina. "Old Mother Nature is 
an excellent manager, and always goes on making the best 
of everything." 

"Dere s heaps done dat ar way, and no noise," said 
Tiff. "Why, Miss Nina, I studies upon dat ar out here 
in my garden. Why, look at dat ar corn, way up over 
your head, now ! All dat ar growed dis yer summer. No 
noise bout it pears like nobody couldn t see when 
t was done. Dey were telling us in camp-meeting how de 
Lord created de heaven and de earth. Now, Miss Nina, 
Tiff has his own thoughts, you know; and Tiff says pears 
like de Lord is creating de heaven and de earth all de 
time. Pears like you can see Him a-doing of it right 
afore your face; and dem growing tings are so curus! 
Miss Nina, pears for all de world like as if dey was crit 
ters! Pears like each of em has der own way, and won t 
go no oder! Dese yer beans, dey will come up so curus 
right top o de stalks; dey will turn round de pole one 
way, and if you was to tie em, you could n t make em 
go round t oder! Dey s set in der own way dey is, 
for all dey s so still bout it! Laws, Miss Nina, dese yer 
tings makes Tiff laugh does so ! " he said, sitting down, 
and indulging in one of his fits of merriment. 

422 DEED 

"You are quite a philosopher, Tiff, said Nina. 

" Laws, Miss Nina, I hopes not ! " said Tiff solemnly ; 
" cause one of de preachers at de camp-meeting used up 
dem folk terrible, I tell you! Dat ar pretty much all I 
could make out of de sermon, dat people mustn t be loso- 
phers! Laws, Miss Nina, I hope I ain t no sich! " 

"Oh, I mean the good kind, Uncle Tiff. But how 
were you pleased, upon the whole, at the camp-meeting ? " 
said Nina. 

"Well," said Tiff, "Miss Nina, I hope I got something 
I don t know fa rly how much tis. But, Miss Nina, 
it pears like as if you had come out here to instruct us 
bout dese yer tings. Miss Fanny, she don t read very 
well yet, and pears like if you could read us some out of 
de Bible, and teach us how to be Christians " 

"Why, Tiff, I scarcely know how myself!" said Nina. 
"I 11 send Milly to talk to you. She is a real good Chris 

"Milly is a very nice woman," said Tiff, somewhat 
doubtfully; "but, Miss Nina, pears like I would rather 
have white teaching; pears like I would rather have you, 
if it wouldn t be too much trouble." 

"Oh no, Uncle Tiff! If you want to hear me read, 
I ll read to you now," said Nina. "Have you got a 
Bible, here? Stay; I ll sit down. I ll take the chair 
and sit down in the shade, and then you need n t stop your 

Tiff hurried into the house to call Fanny ; produced a 
copy of a Testament, which, with much coaxing, he had 
persuaded Cripps to bring on his last visit; and while 
Fanny sat at her feet making larkspur rings, Nina turned 
over the pages, to think what to read. When she saw 
Tiff s earnest and eager attention, her heart smote her to 
think that the book so valuable in his eyes was to her 
almost an unread volume. 


"What shall I read to you, Tiff? What do you want 
to hear ? " 

"Well, I wants to find out de shortest way I ken, how 
dese yer chil en a to be got to heaven!" said Tiff. "Dis 
yer world is mighty well long as it holds out; but den, 
yer see, it don t last forever! Tings is passing away!" 

Nina thought a moment. The great question of ques 
tions, so earnestly proposed to her! The simple, childlike 
old soul hanging confidingly on her answer! At last she 
said, with a seriousness quite unusual with her : 

"Tiff, I think the best thing I can do is to read to you 
about our Saviour. He came down into this world to 
show us the way to heaven. And I 11 read you, when I 
come here days, all that there is about Him all He said 
and did; and then, perhaps, you ll see the way yourself. 
Perhaps," she added, with a sigh, "I shall, too!" 

As she spoke, a sudden breeze of air shook the clusters 
of a prairie rose, which was climbing into the tree under 
which she was sitting, and a shower of rose leaves fell 
around her. 

"Yes," she said to herself, as the rose leaves fell on her 
book, "it s quite true, what he says. Everything is pass 

And now, amid the murmur of the pine-trees, and the 
rustling of the garden vines, came on the ear of the listen 
ers the first words of that sweet and ancient story : 

"Now, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in 
the days of Herod the King, behold there came wise men 
from the East, saying, Where is He that is born King of 
the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and 
are come to worship Him. 

Probably more cultivated minds would have checked the 
progress of the legend by a thousand questions, statistical 
and geographical, as to where Jerusalem was, and who the 
wise men were, and how far the East was from Jerusalem, 

424 DEED 

and whether it was probable they would travel so far. 
But Nina was reading to children, and to an old child-man, 
in whose grotesque and fanciful nature there was yet trea 
sured a believing sweetness, like the amulets supposed to 
belong to the good genii of the fairy tales. The quick 
fancy of her auditors made reality of the story as it went 
along. A cloudy Jerusalem built itself up immediately in 
their souls, and became as well known to them as the 

neighboring town of E . Herod, the king, became a 

real walking personage in their minds, with a crown on his 
head. And Tiff immediately discerned a resemblance 
between him and a certain domineering old General Eaton, 
who used greatly to withstand the cause of virtue, and 
the Peytons, in the neighborhood where he was brought 
up. Tiff s indignation, when the slaughter of the inno 
cents was narrated, was perfectly outrageous. He declared 
he wouldn t have believed that of King Herod, bad as 
he was ! and good hearted and inoffensive as Tiff was in 
general, it really seemed to afford him comfort "dat de 
debil had got dat ar man fore now." 

" Sarves him right, too ! " said Tiff, striking fiercely at 
a weed with his hoe. "Killing all dem por little chil en! 
Why, what harm had dey done him, anyway 1 ? Wonder 
what he thought of hisself ! " 

Nina found it necessary to tranquillize the good creature, 
to get a hearing for the rest of the story. She went on 
reading of the wild night- journey of the wise men, and 
how the star went before them till it stood over the place 
where the child was. How they went in, and saw the 
young child, and Mary his mother, and fell down before 
him, offering gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

"Lord bless you! I wish I d a been dar!" said Tiff. 
"And dat ar chile was de Lord of glory, sure nough, Miss 
Nina! I hearn em sing dis yer hymn at de camp-meeting 
you know, bout cold on his cradle. You know it goes 


dis yer way." And Tiff sung, to a kind of rocking 
lullaby, words whose poetic imagery had hit his fancy 
before he knew their meaning. 

" Cold on his cradle the dewdrops are shining, 

Low lies his head with the beasts of the stall; 
Angels adore, in slumber reclining, 

Maker, and Saviour, and Monarch of all." 

Nina had never realized, till she felt it in the undoubt- 
ing faith of her listeners, the wild, exquisite poetry of that 
legend, which, like an immortal lily, blooms in the heart 
of Christianity as spotless and as tender now as eighteen 
hundred years ago. That child of Bethlehem, when after 
wards he taught in Galilee, spoke of seed which fell into 
a good and honest heart ; and words could not have been 
more descriptive of the nature which was now receiving 
this seed of paradise. 

When Nina had finished her reading, she found her own 
heart touched by the effect which she had produced. The 
nursing, child-loving Old Tiff was ready, in a moment, to 
bow before his Redeemer, enshrined in the form of an 
infant; and it seemed as if the air around him had been 
made sacred by the sweetness of the story. 

As Nina was mounting her horse to return, Tiff brought 
out a little basket full of wild raspberries. 

"Tiff wants to give you something," he said. 

"Thank you, Uncle Tiff. How delightful! Now, if 
you 11 only give me a cluster of your Michigan rose ! " 

Proud and happy was Tiff, and pulling down the very 
topmost cluster of his rose, he presented it to her. Alas ! 
before Nina reached home, it hung drooping from the heat. 

"The grass withereth, and the flower fadeth; but the 
word of our God shall stand forever." 



IN life organized as it is at the South there are two 
currents: one, the current of the master s fortunes, feel 
ings, and hopes; the other, that of the slave s. It is a 
melancholy fact in the history of the human race, as yet, 
that there have been multitudes who follow the triumphal 
march of life only as captives, to whom the voice of the 
trumpet, the waving of the banners, the shouts of the 
people, only add to the bitterness of inthrallment. 

While life to Nina was daily unfolding in brighter 
colors, the slave-brother at her side was destined to feel an 
additional burden on his already unhappy lot. 

It was toward evening, after having completed his daily 
cares, that he went to the post-office for the family letters. 
Among these, one was directed to himself, and he slowly 
perused it as he rode home through the woods. It was as 
follows : 

MY DEAR BROTHER, I told you how comfortably 
we were living on our place I and my children. Since 
then, everything has been changed. Mr. Tom Gordon 
came here and put in a suit for the estate, and attached 
me and my children as slaves. He is a dreadful man. 
The case has been tried and gone against us. The judge 
said that both deeds of emancipation both the one exe 
cuted in Ohio and the one here were of no effect ; that 
my boy was a slave, and could no more hold property than 
a mule before a plough. I had some good friends here, 


and people pitied me very much; but nobody could help 
me. Tom Gordon is a bad man a very bad man. I 
cannot tell you all that he said to me. I only tell you 
that I will kill myself and my children before we will be 
his slaves. Harry, I have been free, and I know what 
liberty is. My children have been brought up free, and 
if I can help it they never shall know what slavery is. I 
have got away, and am hiding with a colored family here 
in Natchez. I hope to get to Cincinnati, where I have 

My dear brother, I did hope to do something for you. 
Now I cannot. Nor can you do anything for me. The 
law is on the side of our oppressors; but I hope God will 
help us. Farewell! Your affectionate 


It is difficult to fathom the feelings of a person brought 
up in a position so wholly unnatural as that of Harry. 
The feelings which had been cultivated in him by educa 
tion, and the indulgence of his nominal possessors, were 
those of an honorable and gentlemanly man. His position 
was absolutely that of the common slave, without one legal 
claim to anything on earth, one legal right of protection in 
any relation of life. What any man of strong nature would 
feel on hearing such tidings from a sister, Harry felt. 

In a moment there rose up before his mind the picture 
of Nina in all her happiness and buoyancy in all the 
fortunate accessories in her lot. Had the vague thoughts 
which crowded on his mind been expressed in words, they 
might have been something like these : 

" I have two sisters, daughters of one father, both beau 
tiful, both amiable and good; but one has rank, and posi 
tion, and wealth, and ease, and pleasure; the other is an 
outcast, unprotected, given up to the brutal violence of a 
vile and wicked man. She has been a good wife, and a 

428 DRED 

good mother. Her husband has done all he could to save 
her; but the cruel hand of the law grasps her and her 
children, and hurls them back into the abyss from which 
it was his life-study to raise them. And I can do nothing ! 
I am not even a man! And this curse is on me, and on 
my wife, and on my children and children s children, for 
ever! Yes, what does the judge say in this letter? He 
can no more own anything than the mule before his 
plough! That s to be the fate of every child of mine! 
And yet people say, You have all you w r ant ; why are 
you not happy 1 I wish they could try it ! Do they 
think broadcloth coats and gold watches can comfort a man 
for all this 1 " 

Harry rode along, with his hands clenched upon the 
letter, the reins drooping from the horse s neck, in the 
same unfrequented path where he had twice before met 
Dred. Looking up, he saw him the third time, standing 
silently, as if he had risen from the ground. 

"Where did you come from? " said he. "Seems to me 
you are always at hand when anything is going against 

" Went not my spirit with thee ? " said Dred. " Have 
I not seen it all 1 ? It is because we will bear this that we 
have it to bear, Harry." 

"But," said Harry, "what can we do?" 

"Do? What does the wild horse do? Launch out our 
hoofs ! rear up, and come down on them ! What does the 
rattlesnake do? Lie in their path, and bite! Why did 
they make slaves of us ? They tried the wild Indians first. 
Why didn t they keep to them? They wouldn t be 
slaves, and we will ! They that will bear the yoke may 
bear it!" 

"But," said Harry, "Dred, this is all utterly hopeless. 
Without any means, or combination, or leaders, we should 
only rush on to our own destruction." 


"Let us die, then!" said Dred. "What if we do die? 
What great matter is that 1 If they bruise oar head, we 
can sting their heels ! Nat Turner they killed him ; but 
the fear of him almost drove them to set free their slaves! 
Yes, it was argued among them. They came within two 
or three votes of it in their assembly. A little more fear, 
and they would have done it. If my father had succeeded, 
the slaves in Carolina would be free to-day. Die 1 Why 
not die ? Christ was crucified ! Has everything dropped 
out of you, that you can t die that you ll crawl like 
worms, for the sake of living 1 " 

"I m not afraid of death myself," said Harry. "God 
knows I would n t care if I did die; but " 

"Yes, I know," said Dred. "She that letteth will let, 
till she be taken out of the way. I tell you, Harry, 
there s a seal been loosed there s a vial poured out on 
the air; and the destroying angel standeth over Jerusalem, 
with his sword drawn ! " 

" What do you mean by that ? " said Harry. 

Dred stood silent for a moment; his frame assumed the 
rigid tension of a cataleptic state, and his voice sounded 
like that of a person speaking from a distance, yet there 
was a strange distinctness in it. 

"The words of the prophet, and the vision that he hath 
from the Lord, when he saw the vision, falling into a 
trance, and having his eyes open, and behold he saw a roll 
flying through the heavens, and it was written, within and 
without, with mourning and lamentation and woe ! Be 
hold, it cometh ! Behold, the slain of the Lord shall be 
many! They shall fall in the house and by the way! 
The bride shall fall in her chamber, and the child shall 
die in its cradle! There shall be a cry in the land of 
Egypt, for there shall not be a house where there is not 
one dead ! " 

"Dred! Dred! Dred!" said Harry, pushing him by the 

430 DEED 

shoulder; "come out of this coine out! It s fright 
ful ! " 

Dred stood looking before him, with his head inclined 
forward, his hand upraised, and his eyes strained, with the 
air of one who is trying to make out something through 
a thick fog. "I see her!" he said. "Who is that by 
her 1 His back is turned. Ah ! I see it is he ! And 
there s Harry and Milly! Try hard try! You won t 
do it. No, no use sending for the doctor. There s not 
one to be had. They are all too busy. Bub her hands ! 
Yes. But it s no good. Whom the Lord loveth he 
taketh away from the evil to come. Lay her down. Yes, 
it is Death ! Death ! Death ! " 

Harry had often seen the strange moods of Dred, and he 
shuddered now, because he partook somewhat in the com 
mon superstitions, which prevailed among the slaves, of 
his prophetic power. He shook and called him; but he 
turned slowly away, and with eyes that seemed to see 
nothing, yet guiding himself with his usual dextrous agil 
ity, he plunged again into the thickness of the swamp, and 
was soon lost to view. 

After his return home it was with the sensation of chill 
at his heart that he heard Aunt Nesbit reading to Nina 
portions of a letter, describing the march through some 
northern cities of the cholera, which was then making fear 
ful havoc on our American shore. "Nobody seems to 
know how to manage it," the letter said; "physicians are 
all at a loss. It seems to spurn all laws. It bursts upon 
cities like a thunderbolt, scatters desolation and death, and 
is gone with equal rapidity. People rise in the morning 
well, and are buried before evening. In one day houses 
are swept of a whole family." 

"Ah," said Harry to himself, "I see the meaning now, 
but what does it portend to us ? " 

How the strange foreshadowing had risen to the mind 


of Dred we shall not say. Whether there be mysterious 
electric sympathies which, floating through the air, bear 
dim presentiments on their wings, or whether some stray 
piece of intelligence had dropped on his ear, and been 
interpreted by the burning fervor of his soul, we know not. 
The news, however, left very little immediate impression 
on the daily circle at Canema. It was a dread reality in 
the far distance. Harry only pondered it with anxious 



NINA continued her visits to Tiff s garden on almost 
every pleasant morning or evening. Tiff had always some 
little offering, either berries or flowers, to present, or a 
nice little luncheon of fish or birds, cooked in some mode 
of peculiar delicacy ; and which, served up in sylvan style, 
seemed to have something of the wild relish of the woods. 
In return, she continued to read the story so interesting to 
him; and it was astonishing how little explanation it 
needed how plain honesty of heart, and lovingness of 
nature, interpreted passages over which theologians have 
wrangled in vain. It was not long before Tiff had imper 
sonated to himself each of the disciples, particularly Peter; 
so that, when anything was said by him, Tiff would nod 
his head significantly, and say, "Ah, ah! dat ar s just 
like him! He s allers a-puttin in; but he s a good man, 
arter all ! " 

What impression was made on the sensitive young 
nature, through whom, as a medium, Tiff received this 
fresh revelation, we may, perhaps, imagine. There are 
times in life when the soul, like a half-grown climbing 
vine, hangs wavering tremulously, stretching out its ten 
drils for something to ascend by. Such are generally the 
great transition periods of life, when we are passing from 
the ideas and conditions of one stage of existence to those 
of another. Such times are most favorable for the presen 
tation of the higher truths of religion. In the hazy, slum 
berous stillness of that midsummer atmosphere, in the 


long, silent rides through the pines, Nina half awakened 
from the thoughtless dreams of childhood, yearning for 
something nobler than she yet had lived for, thought over, 
and revolved in her mind, this beautiful and spotless image 
of God, revealed in man, which her daily readings pre 
sented; and the world that he created seemed to whisper 
to her in every pulsation of its air, in every breath of its 
flowers, in the fanning of its winds, "He still liveth, and 
he loveth thee." The voice of the Good Shepherd fell on 
the ear of the wandering lamb, calling her to his arms; 
and Nina found herself one day unconsciously repeating, 
as she returned through the woods, words which she had 
often heard read at church : 

"When thou saidst unto me, Seek ye my face, my heart 
said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek." 

Nina had often dreaded the idea of becoming a Chris 
tian, as one shrinks from the idea of a cold, dreary passage 
which must be passed to gain a quiet home. But sud 
denly, as if by some gentle invisible hand, the veil seemed 
to be drawn which hid the face of Almighty Love from 
her view. She beheld the earth and the heavens transfig 
ured in the light of his smile. A strange and unspeakable 
joy arose within her, as if some loving presence were 
always near her. It was with her when she lay down at 
night, and when she awoke in the morning the strange 
happiness had not departed. Her feelings may be best 
expressed by an extract from a letter which she wrote at 
this time to Clayton : 

It seems to me that I have felt a greater change in me 
within the last two months than in my whole life before. 
When I look back at what I was in New York, three 
months ago, actually I hardly know myself. It seems to 
me in those old days that life was only a frolic to*me, as 
it is to the kitten. I don t really think that there was 

VOL. I. 

434 DRED 

much harm in me, only the want of good. In those days, 
sometimes I used to have a sort of dim longing to be 
better, particularly when Livy Ray was at school. It 
seemed as if she woke up something that had been asleep 
in me; but she went away, and I fell asleep again, and life 
went on like a dream. Then I became acquainted with 
you, and you began to rouse me again, and for some time 
I thought I didn t like to wake; it was just as it is when 
one lies asleep in the morning it s so pleasant to sleep 
and dream, that one resists any one who tries to bring 
him back to life. I used to feel quite pettish when I first 
knew you, and sometimes wished you d let me alone, be 
cause I saw that you belonged to a different kind of sphere 
from what I d been living in. And I had a presentiment 
that, if I let you go on, life would have to be something 
more than a joke with me. But you would, like a very 
indiscreet man as you are, you would insist on being in 
sober earnest. 

I used to think that I had no heart; I begin to think 
I have a good deal now. Every day it seems as if I could 
love more and more ; and a great many things are growing 
clear to me that I did n t use to understand, and I m grow 
ing happier every day. 

You know my queer old protege, Uncle Tiff, who 
lives in the woods here. For some time past I have been 
to his house every day, reading to him in the Testament, 
and it has had a very great effect on me. It affected me 
very much, in the first place, that he seemed so very ear 
nest about religion, when I, who ought to know so much 
more, was so indifferent to it; and when the old creature, 
with tears in his eyes, actually insisted upon it that I 
should show his children the road to heaven, then I began 
to read to him the Testament, the life of Jesus. I did n t 
know myself how beautiful it was how suited to all our 
wants. It seemed to me I never saw so much beauty in 


anything before; and it seems as if it had waked a new 
life in me. Everything is changed; and it is the beauty 
of Christ that has changed it. You know I always loved 
beauty above all things, in music, in nature, and in flow 
ers; but it seems to me that I see something now in Jesus 
more beautiful than all. It seems as if all these had been 
shadows of beauty, but He is the substance. It is strange, 
but I have a sense of him, his living and presence, that 
sometimes almost overpowers me. It seems as if he had 
been following me always, but I had not seen him. He 
has been a good shepherd, seeking the thoughtless lamb. 
He has, all my life, been calling me child; but till lately 
my heart has never answered, Father! Is this religion? 
Is this what people mean by conversion? I tried to tell 
Aunt Nesbit how I felt, because now I feel kinder to 
everybody; and really my heart smote me to think how 
much fun I had made of her, and now I begin to love her 
very much. She was so anxious I should talk with Mr. 
Titmarsh, because he is a minister. Well, you know I 
didn t want to do it, but I thought I ought to, because 
poor aunty really seemed to feel anxious I should. I sup 
pose, if I were as perfect as I ought to be, a good man s 
stiff ways would n t trouble me so. But stiff people, you 
know, are my particular temptation. 

He came and made a pastoral call, the other day, and 
talked to me. I don t think he understood me very well, 
and I m sure I didn t understand him. He told me how 
many kinds of faith there were, and how many kinds of 
love. I believe there were three kinds of faith, and two 
kinds of love; and he thought it was important to know 
whether I had got the right kind. He said we ought not 
to love God because he loves us, but because he is holy. 
He wanted to know whether I had any just views of sin, 
as an infinite evil; and I told him I hadn t the least idea 
of what infinite was; and that I hadn t any views of any- 

436 DEED 

thing, but the beauty of Christ; that I didn t understand 
anything about the different sorts of faith, but that I felt 
perfectly sure that Jesus is so good that he would make 
me feel right, and give me right views, and do everything 
for me that I need. 

He wanted to know if I loved him because he magni 
fied the law, and made it honorable; and I told him I 
didn t understand what that meant. 

I don t think, on the whole, that the talk did me 
much good. It only confused me, and made me very 
uncomfortable. But I went out to Old Tiff s in the even 
ing, and read how Jesus received the little children. You 
never saw anybody so delighted as Old Tiff was. He got 
me to read it to him three or four times over; and now he 
gets me to read it every time I go there, and he says he 
likes it better than any other part of the Testament. Tiff 
and I get along very well together. He does n t know any 
more about faith than I do, and hasn t any better views 
than I have. Aunt Nesbit is troubled about me, because 
I m so happy. She says she s afraid I haven t any sense 
of sin. Don t you remember my telling you how happy 
I felt the first time I heard real music ? I thought, before 
that, that I could sing pretty well; but in one hour all my 
music became trash in my eyes. And yet, I would not 
have missed it for the world. So it is now. That beau 
tiful life of Jesus so sweet, so calm, so pure, so unsel 
fish, so perfectly natural, and yet so far beyond nature 
has shown me what a poor, sinful, low creature I am; and 
yet I rejoice. I feel, sometimes, as I did when I first 
heard a full orchestra play some of Mozart s divine harmo 
nies. I forgot that I was alive; I lost all thought of 
myself entirely; and I was perfectly happy. So it is now. 
This loveliness and beauty that I see makes me happy 
without any thought of myself. It seems to me, some 
times, that while I see it I never can suffer. 


There is another thing that is strange to me; and that 
is, that the Bible has grown so beautiful to me. It seems 
to me that it has been all my life like the transparent pic 
ture, without any light behind it; and now it is all illumi 
nated, and its words are full of meaning to me. I am 
light hearted and happy happier than ever I was. Do 
you remember, the first day you came to Canema, that I 
told you it seemed so sad that we must die 1 That feeling 
is all gone, now. I feel that Jesus is everywhere, and 
that there is no such thing as dying; it is only going out 
of one room into another. 

Everybody wonders to see how light hearted I am; and 
poor aunty says, "she trembles for me." I couldn t help 
thinking of that, the other morning I was reading to Tiff, 
what Jesus said when they asked him why his disciples 
did not fast: "Can the children of the bride- chamber mourn 
while the bridegroom is with them 1 " 

Now, my dear friend, you must tell me what you think 
of all this, because, you know, I always tell you every 
thing. I have written to Livy about it, because I know 
it will make her so happy. Milly seems to understand 
it all, and what she says to me really helps me very 
much. I always used to think that Milly had some 
strange, beautiful kind of inward life, that I knew nothing 
of, because she would speak with so much certainty of 
God s love, and act as if it was so real to her; and she 
would tell me so earnestly, " Chile, he loves you ! " Now 
I see into it that mystery of his love to us, and how he 
overcomes and subdues all things by love; and I under 
stand how "perfect love casteth out fear." 

To this letter Nina soon received an answer, from which 
also we give an extract : 

If I was so happy, my dearest one, as to be able to 

438 DEED 

awaken that deeper and higher nature which I always knew 
was in you, I thank God. But if I ever was in any 
respect your teacher, you have passed beyond my teachings 
now. Your childlike simplicity of nature makes you a 
better scholar than I in that school where the first step is 
to forget all our worldly wisdom and become a little child. 
We men have much more to contend with, in the pride of 
our nature, in our habits of worldly reasoning. It takes us 
long to learn the lesson that faith is the highest wisdom. 
Don t trouble your head, dear Nina, with Aunt Nesbit or 
Mr. Titmarsh. What you feel is faith. They define it, 
and you feel it. And there s all the difference between 
the definition and the feeling that there is between the 
husk and the corn. 

As for me, I am less happy than you. Religion seems 
to me to have two parts to it. One part is the aspiration 
of man s nature, and the other is God s answer to those 
aspirations. I have, as yet, only the first; perhaps, because 
I am less simple and less true; perhaps, because I am not 
yet become a little child. So you must be my guide, 
instead of I yours; for I believe it is written of the faith 
ful, that a little child shall lead them. 

I am a good deal tried now, my dear, because I am 
coming to a crisis in my life. I am going to take a step 
that will deprive me of many friends, of popularity, and 
that will, perhaps, alter all my course for the future. 
But if I should lose friends and popularity, you would 
love me still, would you not 1 It is wronging you to ask 
such a question; but yet I should like to have you answer 
it. It will make me stronger for what I have to do. On 
Thursday of this week my case will come on again. I 
am very busy just now; but the thought of you mingles 
with every thought. 



THE time for the session of the Supreme Court had now 
arrived, and Clayton s cause was to be reconsidered. 
Judge Clayton felt exceedingly chagrined as the time 
drew near. Being himself the leading judge of the Su 
preme Court, the declaration of the bench would necessa 
rily be made known through him. 

"It is extremely painful to me, 7 he said to Mrs. Clay 
ton, "to have this case referred to me; for I shall be 
obliged to reverse the decision." 

"Well," said Mrs. Clayton, "Edward must have forti 
tude to encounter the usual reverses of his profession. He 
made a gallant defense, and received a great deal of admi 
ration, which will not be at all lessened by this." 

"You do not understand me," said Judge Clayton. 
"It is not the coming out in opposition to Edward which 
principally annoys me. It is the nature of the decision that 
I am obliged to make the doctrine that I feel myself 
forced to announce." 

"And must you, then?" said Mrs. Clayton. 

"Yes, I must," said Judge Clayton. "A judge can 
only perceive and declare. What I see, I must speak, 
though it go against all my feelings and all my sense of 

"I don t see, for my part," said Mrs. Clayton, "how 
that decision can possibly be reversed, without allowing 
the most monstrous injustice." 

"Such is the case," said Judge Clayton; "but I sit in 

440 DEED 

my seat, not to make laws, nor to alter them, but simply 
to declare what they are. However bad the principle 
declared, it is not so bad as the proclamation of a falsehood 
would be. I have sworn truly to declare the laws, and I 
must keep my oath." 

"And have you talked with Edward about it? " 

"Not particularly. He understands, in general, the 
manner in which the thing lies in my mind." 

This conversation took place just before it was time for 
Judge Clayton to go to his official duties. 

The court -room, on this occasion, was somewhat 
crowded. Barker, being an active, resolute, and popular 
man, with a certain class, had talked up a considerable 
excitement with regard to his case. Clayton s friends 
were interested in it on his account; lawyers were, for 
the sake of the principle; so that, upon the whole, there 
was a good deal of attention drawn towards this deci 

Among the spectators, on the morning of the court, Clay 
ton remarked Harry. For reasons which our readers may 
appreciate, Harry s presence there was a matter of interest 
to Clayton. He made his way towards him. 

"Harry," he said, "how came you here?" 

"The ladies," said Harry, "thought they would like to 
know how the thing went, and so I got on to my horse 
and came over." 

As he spoke he placed in Clayton s hand a note, and 
as the paper touched his hand, a close spectator might 
have seen the color rise in his cheek. He made his way 
back to his place, and opened a law-book, which he held 
up before his face. Inside the law-book, however, was 
a little sheet of gilt-edged paper, on which were written 
a few words in pencil, more interesting than all the law 
in the world. Shall we commit the treason of reading 
over his shoulder? It was as follows: 


You say you may to-day be called to do something 
which you think right, but which will lose you many 
friends; which will destroy your popularity, which may 
alter all your prospects in life; and you ask if I can love 
you yet. I say, in answer, that it was not your friends 
that I loved, nor your popularity, nor your prospects, but 
you. I can love and honor a man who is not afraid nor 
ashamed to do what he thinks to be right; and therefore 
I hope ever to remain yours, NINA. 

P. S. I only got your letter this morning, and have 
but just time to scribble this and send by Harry. We are 
all well, and shall be glad to see you as soon as the case is 

"Clayton, my boy, you are very busy with your author 
ities," said Frank Eussel, behind him. Clayton hastily 
hid the paper in his hand. 

"It s charming!" said Kussel, "to have little manu 
script annotations on law. It lights it up, like the illumi 
nations in old missals. But say, Clayton, you live at the 
fountain-head : how is the case going 1 " 

"Against me!" said Clayton. 

"Well, it s no great odds, after all. You have had 
your triumph. These after-thoughts cannot take away 
that. . . . But hush! There s your father going to 
speak ! " 

Every eye in the court-room was turned upon Judge 
Clayton, who was standing with his usual self-poised com 
posure of manner. In a clear, deliberate voice, he spoke 
as follows : 

"A judge cannot but lament when such cases as the 
present are brought into judgment. It is impossible that 
the reasons on which they go can be appreciated but where 
institutions similar to our own exist and are thoroughly 
understood. The struggle, too, in the judge s own breast, 

442 DEED 

between the feelings of the man and the duty of the magis 
trate, is a severe one, presenting strong temptation to put 
aside such questions, if it be possible. It is useless, how 
ever, to complain of things inherent in our political state. 
And it is criminal in a court to avoid any responsibility 
which the laws impose. With whatever reluctance, there 
fore, it is done, the court is compelled to express an opin 
ion upon the extent of the dominion of the master over 
the slave in North Carolina. The indictment charges a 
battery on Milly, a slave of Louisa Nesbit. . . . 

"The inquiry here is, whether a cruel and unreasonable 
battery on a slave by the hirer is indictable. The judge 
below instructed the jury that it is. He seems to have 
put it . on the ground, that the defendant had but a special 
property. Our laws uniformly treat the master, or other 
person having the possession and command of the slave, 
as entitled to the same extent of authority. The object is 
the same, the service of the slave; and the same powers 
must be confided. In a criminal proceeding, and, indeed, 
in reference to all other persons but the general owner, the 
hirer and possessor of the slave, in relation to both rights 
and duties, is, for the time being, the owner. . . . But 
upon the general question, whether the owner is answer 
able, criminaliter, for a battery upon his own slave, or 
other exercise of authority or force, not forbidden by 
statute, the court entertains but little doubt. That he is 
so liable has never been decided, nor, as far as is known, 
been hitherto contended. There has been no prosecution 
of the sort. The established habits and uniform practice 
of the country, in this respect, is the best evidence of the 
portion of power deemed by the whole community requisite 
to the preservation of the master s dominion. If we 
thought differently, we could not set our notions in array 
against the judgment of everybody else, and say that this 
or that authority may be safely lopped off. 


"This has indeed been assimilated at the bar to the 
other domestic relations: and arguments drawn from the 
well-established principles, which confer and restrain the au 
thority of the parent over the child, the tutor over the 
pupil, the master over the apprentice, have been pressed 
on us. 

"The court does not recognize their application. There 
is no likeness between the cases. They are in opposition 
to each other, and there is an impassable gulf between 
them. The difference is that which exists between free 
dom and slavery ; and a greater cannot be imagined. In 
the one, the end in view is the happiness of the youth 
born to equal rights with that governor on whom the duty 
devolves of training the young to usefulness, in a station 
which he is afterwards to assume among free men. To 
such an end, and with such a subject, moral and intellec 
tual instruction seem the natural means; and, for the most 
part, they are found to suffice. Moderate force is super- 
added only to make the others effectual. If that fail, it is 
better to leave the party to his own headstrong passions, 
and the ultimate correction of the law, than to allow it to 
be immoderately inflicted by a private person. With 
slavery it is far otherwise. The end is the profit of the 
master, his security, and the public safety; the subject, 
one doomed, in his own person and his posterity, to live 
without knowledge, and without the capacity to make any 
thing his own, and to toil that another may reap the fruits. 
What moral considerations shall be addressed to such a 
being, to convince him what it is impossible but that the 
most stupid must feel and know can never be true, that 
he is thus to labor upon a principle of natural duty, or for 
the sake of his own personal happiness? Such services 
can only be expected from one who has no will of his own ; 
who surrenders his will in implicit obedience to that of 
another. Such obedience is the consequence only of un- 

444 DEED 

controlled authority over the body. There is nothing else 
which can operate to produce the effect. The power of 
the master must be absolute, to render the submission of 
the slave perfect. I most freely confess my sense of the 
harshness of this proposition. I feel it as deeply as any 
man can. And as a principle of moral right, every person 
in his retirement must repudiate it. But, in the actual 
condition of things, it must be so. There is no remedy. 
This discipline belongs to the state of slavery. They 
cannot be disunited without abrogating at once the rights 
of the master, and absolving the slave from his subjection. 
It constitutes the curse of slavery to both the bond and 
the free portions of our population. But it is inherent in 
the relation of master and slave. That there may be par 
ticular instances of cruelty and deliberate barbarity, where 
in conscience the law might properly interfere, is most 
probable. The difficulty is to determine where a court 
may properly begin. Merely in the abstract, it may well 
be asked which power of the master accords with right. 
The answer will probably sweep away all of them. But 
we cannot look at the matter in that light. The truth is 
that we are forbidden to enter upon a train of general 
reasoning on the subject. We cannot allow the right of 
the master to be brought into discussion in the courts of 
justice. The slave, to remain a slave, must be made sen 
sible that there is no appeal from his master; that his 
power is, in no instance, usurped, but is conferred by the 
laws of man, at least, if not by the law of God. The 
danger would be great, indeed, if the tribunals of justice 
should be called on to graduate the punishment appropri 
ate to every temper and every dereliction of menial duty. 

"No man can anticipate the many and aggravated provo 
cations of the master which the slave would be constantly 
stimulated by his own passions, or the instigation of others, 
to give; or the consequent wrath of the master, prompt- 


ing him to bloody vengeance upon the turbulent traitor; 
a vengeance generally practiced with impunity, by reason 
of its privacy. The court, therefore, disclaims the power 
of changing the relation in which these parts of our people 
stand to each other. 

"I repeat, that I would gladly have avoided this un 
grateful question. But being brought to it, the court is 
compelled to declare that while slavery exists amongst us 
in its present state, or until it shall seem fit to the legisla 
ture to interpose express enactments to the contrary, it 
will be the imperative duty of the judges to recognize the 
full dominion of the owner over the slave, except where 
the exercise of it is forbidden by statute. 

"And this we do upon the ground that this dominion is 
essential to the value of slaves as property, to the security 
of the master and the public tranquillity, greatly dependent 
upon their subordination; and, in fine, as most effectually 
securing the general protection and comfort of the slaves 
themselves. Judgment below reversed; and judgment 
entered for the defendant." 

During the delivery of the decision Clayton s eyes, by 
accident, became fixed upon Harry, who was standing 
opposite to him, and who listened through the whole with 
breathless attention. He observed, as it went on, that 
Harry s face became pale, his brow clouded, and that a fierce 
and peculiar expression flashed from his dark blue eye. 
Never had Clayton so forcibly realized the horrors of sla 
very as when he heard them thus so calmly defined in the 
presence of one into whose soul the iron had entered. The 
tones of Judge Clayton s voice, so passionless, clear, and 
deliberate; the solemn, calm, unflinching earnestness of 
his words were more than a thousand passionate appeals. 
In the dead silence that followed Clayton rose, and re 
quested permission of the court to be allowed to say a few 

446 DEED 

words in view of the decision. His father looked slightly 
surprised, and there was a little movement among the 
judges. But curiosity, perhaps, among other reasons, led 
the court to give consent. Clayton spoke : 

"I hope it will not be considered a disrespect or imper 
tinence for me to say that the law of slavery and the 
nature of that institution have for the first time been made 
known to me to-day in their true character. I had before 
nattered myself with the hope that it might be considered 
a guardian institution, by which a stronger race might 
assume the care and instruction of the weaker one; and 
I had hoped that its laws were capable of being so admin 
istered as to protect the defenseless. This illusion is 
destroyed. I see but too clearly now the purpose and 
object of the law. I cannot, therefore, as a Christian 
man, remain in the practice of law in a slave state. I 
therefore relinquish the profession into which I have just 
been inducted, and retire forever from the bar of my native 

" There ! there ! there he goes ! " said Frank Russel. 
"The sticking-point has come at last. His conscience is 
up, and start him now who can ! " 

There was a slight motion of surprise in the court and 
audience. But Judge Clayton sat with unmoved serenity. 
The words had struck to the depth of his soul. They had 
struck at the root of one of his strongest hopes in life. 
But he had listened to them with the same calm and punc 
tilious attention which it was his habit to give to every 
speaker; and with unaltered composure, he proceeded to 
the next business of the court. 

A step so unusual occasioned no little excitement. But 
Clayton was not one of the class of people to whom his 
associates generally felt at liberty to express their opinions 
of his conduct. The quiet reserve of his manners discour 
aged any such freedom. As usual, in cases where a person 


takes an uncommon course from conscientious motives, 
Clayton was severely criticised. The more trifling among 
the audience contented themselves with using the good set 
phrases, quixotic, absurd, ridiculous. The elder lawyers, 
and those friendly to Clayton, shook their heads, and said, 
rash, precipitate, unadvised. "There s a want of ballast 
about him, somewhere ! " said one. " He is unsound ! " said 
another. " Radical and impracticable ! " added a third. 

"Yes," said Frank Russel, who had just come up, 
"Clayton is as radical and impracticable as the Sermon on 
the Mount, and that 7 s the most impracticable thing I 
know of in literature. We all can serve God and Mam 
mon. We have discovered that happy medium in our 
day. Clayton is behind the times. He is Jewish in his 
notions. Don t you think so, Mr. Titmarsh?" addressing 
the Rev. Mr. Titmarsh. 

"It strikes me that our young friend is extremely 
ultra," said Mr. Titmarsh. "I might feel disposed to 
sympathize with him in the feelings he expressed, to some 
extent; but it having pleased the Divine Providence to 
establish the institution of slavery, I humbly presume it is 
not competent for human reason to judge of it." 

"And if it had pleased the Divine Providence to have 
established the institution of piracy, you d say the same 
thing, I suppose ! " said Frank Russel. 

"Certainly, my young friend," said Mr. Titmarsh. 
"Whatever is divinely ordered becomes right by that 

"I should think," said Frank Russel, "that things were 
divinely ordered because they were right." 

"No, my friend," replied Mr. Titmarsh moderately; 
"they are right because they are ordered, however contrary 
they may appear to any of our poor notions of justice and 
humanity." And Mr. Titmarsh walked off. 

" Did you hear that ? " said Russel. " And they expect 

448 DEED 

really to come it over us with stuff like that! Now, if a 
fellow don t go to church Sundays, there s a dreadful out 
cry against him for not being religious! And if they get 
us there, that s the kind of thing they put down our 
throats! As if they were going to make practical men 
give in to such humbugs ! " 

And the Rev. Mr. Titmarsh went off in another direc 
tion, lamenting to a friend as follows : 

"How mournfully infidelity is increasing among the 
young men of our day! They quote Scripture with the 
same freedom that they would a book of plays, and seem 
to treat it with no more reverence! I believe it s the 
want of catechetical instruction while they are children. 
There s been a great falling back in the teaching of the 
Assembly s Catechism to children when they are young! 
I shall get that point up at the General Assembly. If 
that were thoroughly committed when they are children, 
I think they would never doubt afterwards." 

Clayton went home and told his mother what he had 
done, and why. His father had not spoken to him on 
this subject; and there was that about Judge Clayton 
which made it difficult to introduce a topic unless he sig 
nified an inclination to enter upon it. He was, as usual, 
calm, grave, and considerate, attending to every duty with 
unwearying regularity. 

At the end of the second day, in the evening, Judge 
Clayton requested his son to walk in to his study. The 
interview was painful on both sides. 

"You are aware, my son," he said, "that the step you 
have taken is a very painful one to me. I hope that it 
was not taken precipitately, from any sudden impulse." 

"You may rest assured it was not," said Clayton. "I 
followed the deepest and most deliberate convictions of my 

"In that case, you could not do otherwise," replied 


Judge Clayton. "I have no criticisms to make. But 
will your conscience allow you to retain the position of a 
slave-holder ? " 

"I have already relinquished it," replied Clayton, "so 
far as my own intentions are concerned. I retain the legal 
relation of owner simply as a means of protecting my ser 
vants from the cruelties of the law, and of securing the 
opportunity to educate and elevate them." 

"And suppose this course brings you into conflict with 
the law of the state 1 " said Judge Clayton. 

"If there is any reasonable prospect of having the law 
altered, I must endeavor to do that," said Clayton. 

"But," said Judge Clayton, "suppose the law is so 
rooted in the nature of the institution that it cannot be 
repealed without uprooting the institution ? What then ? " 

"I say repeal the law if it do uproot the institution," 
said Clayton. " Mat justitia, ruat coelum. 

"I supposed that would be your answer," said Judge 
Clayton patiently. "That is undoubtedly the logical line 
of life. But you are aware that communities do not follow 
such lines; your course, therefore, will place you in oppo 
sition to the community in which you live. Your con 
scientious convictions will cross self-interest, and the com 
munity will not allow you to carry them out." 

"Then," said Clayton, "I must, with myself and rny 
servants, remove to some region where I can do this." 

"That I supposed would be the result," said Judge 
Clayton. "And have you looked at the thing in all its 
relations and consequences ? " 

"I have," said Clayton. 

"You are about to form a connection with Miss Gor 
don," said Judge Clayton. "Have you considered how 
this will affect her?" 

"Yes," said Clayton. "Miss Gordon fully sustains me 
in the course I have taken." 

VOL. I. 

450 DEED 

"I have no more to say," said Judge Clayton. "Every 
man must act up to his sense of duty." 

There was a pause of a few moments, and Judge Clayton 
added : 

"You, perhaps, have seen the implication which your 
course throws upon us who still continue to practice the 
system and uphold the institution which you repudiate." 

"I meant no implications," said Clayton. 

"I presume not. But they result, logically, from your 
course," said his father. "I assure you, I have often 
myself pondered the question with reference to my own 
duties. My course is a sufficient evidence that I have 
not come to the same result. Human law is, at best, but 
an approximation, a reflection of many of the ills of our 
nature. Imperfect as it is, it is, on the whole, a blessing. 
The worst system is better than anarchy." 

"But, my father, why could you not have been a 
reformer of the system ? " 

"My son, no reform is possible, unless we are prepared 
to give up the institution of slavery. That will be the 
immediate result; and this is so realized by the instinct of 
self-preservation, which is unfailing in its accuracy, that 
every such proposition will be ignored, till there is a 
settled conviction in the community that the institution 
itself is a moral evil, and a sincere determination felt to be 
free from it. I see no tendency of things in that direction. 
That body of religious men of different denominations, 
called, par excellence^ the church, exhibit a degree of 
moral apathy on this subject which is to me very surpris 
ing. It is with them that the training of the community, 
on which any such reform could be built, must commence; 
and I see no symptoms of their undertaking it. The deci 
sions and testimonies of the great religious assemblies in 
the land, in my youth, were frequent. They have grown 
every year less and less decided; and now the morality of 


the thing is openly defended in our pulpits, to my great 
disgust. I see no way but that the institution will be 
left to work itself out to its final result, which will, in 
the end, be ruinous to our country. I am not myself gifted 
with the talents of a reformer. My turn of mind fits me 
for the situation I hold. I cannot hope that I have done 
no harm in it; but the good, I hope, will outweigh the 
evil. If you feel a call to enter on this course, fully un 
derstanding the difficulties and sacrifices it would proba 
bly involve, I would be the last one to throw the influence 
of my private wishes and feelings into the scale. We live 
here but a few years. It is of more consequence that we 
should do right than that we should enjoy ourselves. 7 

Judge Clayton spoke this with more emotion than he 
usually exhibited, and Clayton was much touched. 

"My dear father," he said, putting Nina s note into his 
hand, "you made allusion to Miss Gordon. This note, 
which I received from her on the morning of your decision, 
will show you what her spirit is." 

Judge Clayton put on his spectacles, and read over the 
note deliberately, twice. He then handed it formally to 
his son, and remarked, with his usual brevity, 

"She will do!" 



THE shadow of that awful cloud which had desolated 
other places now began to darken the boundaries of the 
plantation of Canema. No disease has ever more fully 
filled out the meaning of those awful words of Scripture, 
"The pestilence that walketh in darkness." None has 
been more irregular, and apparently more perfectly capri 
cious, in its movements. During the successive seasons 
that it has been epidemic in this country, it has seemed to 
have set at defiance the skill of the physicians. The sys 
tem of medical tactics which has been wrought out by the 
painful experience of one season seems to be laughed to 
scorn by the varying type of the disease in the next. 
Certain sanitary laws and conditions would seem to be 
indispensable; yet those who are familiar with it have had 
fearful experience how like a wolf it will sometimes leap 
the boundaries of the best and most carefully guarded fold, 
and, spite of every caution and protection, sweep all before 

Its course through towns and villages has been equally 
singular. Sometimes descending like a cloud on a neigh 
borhood, it will leave a single village or town untouched 
amidst the surrounding desolations, and long after, when 
health is restored to the whole neighborhood, come down 
suddenly on the omitted towns, as a ravaging army sends 
back a party for prey to some place which has been over 
looked or forgotten. Sometimes, entering a house, in 
twenty-four hours it will take all who are in it. Some- 


times it will ravage all the city except some one street or 
locality, and then come upon that, while all else is spared. 
Its course, upon southern plantations, was marked by 
similar capriciousness, and was made still more fatal by 
that peculiar nature of plantation life which withdraws the 
inmates so far from medical aid. 

When the first letters were received describing the pro 
gress of it in northern cities, Aunt Nesbit felt much uneasi 
ness and alarm. It is remarkable with what tenacity 
people often will cling to life, whose enjoyments in it are 
so dull and low that a bystander would scarcely think 
them worth the struggle of preservation. When at length 
the dreaded news began to be heard from one point and 
another in their vicinity, Aunt Nesbit said, one day, to 

" Your cousins, the Gordons, in E , have written to 

us to leave the plantation, and come and spend some time 
with them till the danger is over." 

"Why," said Nina, "do they think the cholera can t 
come there 1 " 

"Well," said Aunt Nesbit, "they have their family 
under most excellent regulations; and living in a town 
so, they are within call of a doctor, if anything happens." 

"Aunt," said Nina, "perhaps you had better go; but 
I will stay with my people." 

"Why, don t you feel afraid, Nina?" 

"No, aunt, I don t. Besides, I think it would be very 
selfish for me to live on the services of my people all my 
life, and then run away and leave them alone when a time 
of danger comes. The least I can do is to stay and take 
care of them." 

This conversation was overheard by Harry, who was 
standing with his back to them, on the veranda, near the 
parlor door where they were sitting. 

"Child," said Aunt Nesbit, "what do you suppose you 

454 DEED 

can do? You haven t any experience. Harry and Milly 
can do a great deal better than you can. I 11 leave Milly 
here. It s our first duty to take care of our health." 

"No, aunt, I think there are some duties before that," 
said Nina. "It s true I haven t a great deal of strength, 
but I have courage; and I know my going away would 
discourage our people, and fill them with fear; and that, 
they say, predisposes to the disease. I shall get the 
carriage up, and go directly over to see the doctor, and get 
directions and medicines. I shall talk to our people, and 
teach them what to do, and see that it is done. And 
when they see that I am calm, and not afraid, they will 
have courage. But, aunt, if you are afraid, I think you 
had better go. You are feeble; you can t make much 
exertion; and if you feel any safer or more comfortable, I 
think it would be best. I should like to have Milly stay, 
and she, Harry, and I, will be a board of health to the 

"Harry," she said, "if you 11 get up the carriage, we 11 
go immediately." 

Again Harry felt the bitterness of his soul sweetened 
and tranquillized by the noble nature of her to whose 
hands the law had given the chain which bound him. 
Galling and intolerable as it would have been otherwise, 
he felt, when with her, that her service was perfect free 
dom. He had not said anything to Nina about the con 
tents of the letter which he had received from his sister. 
He saw that it was an evil which she had no power over, 
and he shrank from annoying her with it. Nina supposed 
that his clouded and troubled aspect was caused wholly by 
the solicitude of responsibility. 

In the same carriage which conveyed her to the town 
sat Aunt Nesbit also, and her cap-boxes, whose importance 
even the fear of the cholera could not lessen in her eyes. 
Nina found the physician quite au fait on the subject. 


He had been reading about miasma and animalcule, and 
he entertained Nina nearly half an hour with different 
theories as to the cause of the disease, and with the experi 
ments which had been made in foreign hospitals. 

Among the various theories there was one which ap 
peared to be his particular pet; and Nina couldn t help 
thinking, as he stepped about so alertly, that he almost 
enjoyed the prospect of putting his discoveries to the test. 
By dint, however, of very practical and positive questions, 
Nina drew from him all the valuable information which he 
had to give her; and he wrote her a very full system of 
directions, and put up a case of medicines for her, assuring 
her that he should be happy to attend in person if he had 

On the way home Nina stopped at Uncle John Gordon s 
plantation, and there had the first experience of the differ 
ence between written directions for a supposed case and 
the actual, awful realities of the disease. Her Uncle John 
had been seized only half an hour before, in the most 
awful manner. The household was all in terror and confu 
sion, and the shrieks and groans of agony which proceeded 
from his room were appalling. His wife, busy with the 
sufferer, did not perceive that the messengers who had 
been sent in haste for the doctor were wringing their hands 
in fruitless terror, running up and down the veranda, and 
doing nothing. 

"Harry," said Nina, "take out one of the carriage- 
horses, and ride quick for your life, and bring the doctor 
over here in a minute ! " 

In a few moments the thing was done, and Harry was 
out of sight. She then walked up to the distracted ser 
vants, and commanded them, in a tone of authority, to 
cease their lamentations. Her resolute manner, and the 
quiet tone of voice which she preserved, acted as a sedative 
on their excited nerves. She banished all but two or 

456 DEED 

three of the most reasonable from the house, and then 
went to the assistance of her aunt. 

Before long the doctor arrived. When he had been in 
the sick room a few moments, he came out to make some 
inquiries of Nina, and she could not help contrasting the 
appalled and confounded expression of his countenance 
with the dapper, consequential air, with which, only two 
hours before he had been holding forth to her on animal 
cules and miasma. 

"The disease," he said, "presented itself in an entirely 
different aspect from what he had expected. The reme 
dies," he said, "did not work as he anticipated; the case 
was a peculiar one." 

Alas ! before the three months were over, poor doctor, 
you found many peculiar cases ! 

"Do you think you can save his life? " said Nina. 

"Child, only God can save him!" said the physician; 
"nothing works right." 

But why prolong the torture of that scene, or rehearse 
the struggles, groans, and convulsions? Nina, poor flow 
ery child of seventeen summers, stood with the rest in 
mute despair. All was tried that could be done or 
thought of; but the disease, like some blind, deaf de 
stroyer, marched on, turning neither to right nor left, till 
the cries and groans grew fainter, the convulsed muscles 
relaxed, and the strong, florid man lay in the last stages 
of that fearful collapse which in one hour shrivels the most 
healthy countenance and the firmest muscles to the shrunken 
and withered image of decrepit old age. When the breath 
had passed, and all was over, Nina could scarcely believe 
that that altered face and form, so withered and so worn, 
could have been her healthy and joyous uncle, and who 
never had appeared healthier and more joyous than on that 
morning. But as a person passing under the foam and 
spray of Niagara clings with blind confidence to a guide 


whom he feels, but cannot see, Nina, in this awful hour, 
felt that she was not alone. The Eedeemer, all-powerful 
over death and the grave, of whom she had been thinking 
so much of late, seemed to her sensibly near. And it 
seemed to her as if a voice said to her continually, "Fear 
not, for I am with thee. Be not dismayed, for I am thy 

"How calm you are, my child!" said Aunt Maria to 
her. "I wouldn t have thought it was in you. I don t 
know what we should do without you." 

But now a frightful wail was heard. 

"Oh, we are all dying! we are all going! Oh, missis, 
come quick! Peter has got it! Oh, daddy has got it! 
Oh, my child ! my child ! " 

And the doctor, exhausted as he was by the surprise 
and excitement of this case, began flying from one to an 
other of the cabins, in the greatest haste. Two or three 
of the house servants also seemed to be struck -in the same 
moment, and only the calmness and courage which Nina 
and her aunt maintained prevented a general abandonment 
to panic. Nina possessed that fine, elastic temperament 
which, with the appearance of extreme delicacy, possesses 
great powers of endurance. The perfect calmness which 
she felt enabled her to bring all her faculties to bear on 
the emergency. 

"My good aunty, you mustn t be afraid! Bring out 
your religion; trust in God," she said to the cook, who 
was wringing her hands in terror. " Remember your reli 
gion; sing some of your hymns, and do your duty to the 

There is a magic power in the cheerful tone of courage, 
and Nina succeeded in rallying the well ones to take care 
of the sick; but now came a messenger, in hot haste, to 
say that the cholera had broken out on the plantation at 

458 DEED 

"Well, Harry, 7 said Nina, with a face pale, yet un 
moved, "our duty calls us away." 

And accompanied by the weary physician, they prepared 
to go back to Canema. Before they had proceeded far, a 
man met them on horseback. 

"Is Dr. Butler with you?" 

"Yes," said Nina, putting her head out of the car 

"Oh, Doctor, I ve been riding all over the country after 
you. You must come back to town this minute ! Judge 
Peters is dying! I m afraid he is dead before this time, 
and there s a dozen more cases right in that street. Here, 
get on to my horse, and ride for your life." 

The doctor hastily sprang from the carriage, and mounted 
the horse; then stopping a moment, he cast a look of 
good-natured pity on the sweet, pale face that was lean 
ing out of the carriage window. 

"My poor child," he said, "I can t bear to leave you. 
Who will help you 1 " 

"God," said Nina; "I am not afraid!" 

"Come, come," said the man, "do hurry!" And with 
one hasty glance more he was gone. 

"Now, Harry," said Nina, "everything depends upon 
our keeping up our courage and our strength. W r e shall 
have no physician. We must just do the best we can. 
After all, it is our Lord Jesus that has the keys of death, 
and he loved us and died for us. He will certainly be 
with us." 

"Oh, Miss Nina, you are an angel!" said Harry, who 
felt at that moment as if he could have worshiped her. 

Arrived at home, Nina found a scene of terror and con 
fusion similar to that she had already witnessed. Old 
Hundred lay dead in his cabin, and the lamenting crowd, 
gathering round, were yielding to the full tide of fear and 
excitement, which predisposed them to the same fate. 


Nina rode up immediately to the group. She spoke to 
them calmly; she silenced their outcries, and bade them 
obey her. 

"If you wish, all of you, to die," she said, "this is the 
way towards it; but if you ll keep quiet and calm, and 
do what ought to be done, your lives may be saved. 
Harry and I have got medicines we understand what to 
do. You must follow our directions exactly." 

Nina immediately went to the house, and instructed 
Milly, Aunt Rose, and two or three of the elderly wo 
men in the duties to be done. Milly rose up, in this 
hour of terror, with all the fortitude inspired by her strong 

"Bress de Lord," she said, "for his grace to you, chile! 
De Lord is a shield. He s been wid us in six troubles, 
and he 11 be wid us in seven. We can sing in de swell 
ings of Jordan." 

Harry, meanwhile, was associating to himself a band of 
the most reliable men on the place, and endeavoring in the 
same manner to organize them for action. A messenger 
was dispatched immediately to the neighboring town for 
unlimited quantities of the most necessary medicines and 
stimulants. The plantation was districted off, and placed 
under the care of leaders, who held communication with 
Harry. In the course of two or three hours, the appalling 
scene of distress and confusion was reduced to the resolute 
and orderly condition of a well-managed hospital. 

Milly walked the rounds in every direction, appealing to 
the religious sensibilities of the people, and singing hymns 
of trust and confidence. She possessed a peculiar voice, 
suited to her large development of physical frame, almost 
as deep as a man s bass, with the rich softness of a femi 
nine tone; and Nina could now and then distinguish, as 
she was moving about the house or grounds, that trium 
phant tone, singing : 

460 DEED 

" God is my sun, 

And he my shade, 

To guard my head, 
By night or noon. 
Hast thou not given thy word 

To save my soul from death ? 
And I can trust my Lord, 

To keep my mortal breath, 
I Ml go and come, 

Nor fear to die, 

Till from on high 
Thou call me home." 

The house that night presented the aspect of a belea 
guered garrison. Nina and Milly had thrown open all the 
chambers; and such as were peculiarly exposed to the 
disease, by delicacy of organization or tremulousness of 
nervous system, were allowed to take shelter there. 

"Now, chile," said Milly, when all the arrangements 
had been made, "you jes lie down and go to sleep in yer 
own room. I see how tis with you; de spirit is willing, 
but de flesh is weak. Chile, dere isn t much of you, but 
dere won t nothing go widout you. So, you take care of 
yerself first. Never you be fraid! De people s quiet 
now, and de sick ones is ben took care of, and de folks is 
all doing de best dey can. So, now, you try and get some 
sleep; cause if you goes we shall all go." 

Accordingly Nina retired to her room, but before she 
lay down she wrote to Clayton : 

We are all in affliction here, my dear friend. Poor 
Uncle John died this morning of the cholera. I had been 

to E to see a doctor and provide medicines. When 

I came back I thought I would call a few moments at the 
house, and I found a perfect scene of horror. Poor uncle 
died, and there are a great many sick on the place now; 
and while I was thinking that I would stay and help aunt, 
a messenger came in all haste, saying that the disease had 
broken out on our place at home. 


We were bringing the doctor with us in our carriage, 

when we met a man riding full speed from E , who told 

us that Judge Peters was dying, and a great many others 
were sick on the same street. When we came home we 
found the poor old coachman dead, and the people in the 
greatest consternation. It took us some time to tranquil 
lize them and to produce order, but that is now done. 
Our house is full of the sick and the fearful ones. Milly 
and Harry are firm and active, and inspire the rest with 
courage. About twenty are taken with the disease, but 
not as yet in a violent way. In this awful hour I feel a 
strange peace, which the Bible truly says "passeth all 
understanding." I see, now, that though the world and 
all that is in it should perish, " Christ can give us a beau 
tiful immortal life." I write to you because, perhaps, this 
may be the only opportunity. If I die, do not mourn for 
me, but thank God, who giveth us the victory through our 
Lord Jesus Christ. But then, I trust, I shall not die. 
I hope to live in this world, which is more than ever beau 
tiful to me. Life has never been so valuable and dear as 
since I have known you. Yet I have such trust in the 
love of my Redeemer, that, if lie were to ask me to lay 
it down, I could do it almost without a sigh. I would 
follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. Perhaps the 
same dreadful evil is around you, perhaps at Magnolia 
Grove. I will not be selfish in calling you here, if Anne 
needs you more. Perhaps she has not such reliable help 
as Harry and Milly are to me. So do not fear, and do not 
leave any duty for me. Our Father loves us, and will do 
nothing amiss. Milly walks about the entries singing. I 
love to hear her sing, she sings in such a grand triumphant 
tone. Hark, I hear her now ! 

" I 11 go and come, 
Nor fear to die, 
Till from on high 
Thou call me home." 

462 DEED 

I shall write you every mail, now, till we are better. 
Living or dying, ever your own 


After writing this, Nina lay down and slept slept all 
night as quietly as if death and disease were not hanging 
over her head. In the morning she rose and dressed her 
self, and Milly, with anxious care, brought to her room 
some warm coffee and crackers, which she insisted on her 
taking before she left her apartment. 

"How are they all, Milly?" said Nina. 

"Well, chile," said Milly, "de midnight cry has been 
heard among us. Aunt Hose is gone ; and Big Sam, and 
Jack, and Sally, dey s all gone; but de people is all more 
quiet, love, and dey s determined to stand it out! " 

"How is Harry? " said Nina in a tremulous voice. 

"He isn t sick; he has been up all night working over 
de sick, but he keeps up good heart. De older ones is 
going to have a little prayer-meeting after breakfast, as a 
sort of funeral to dem dat s dead; and, perhaps, Miss 
Nina, you d read us a chapter." 

"Certainly I will," said Nina. 

It was yet an early hour, when a large circle of family 
and plantation hands gathered together in the pleasant, 
open saloon, which we have so often described. The day 
was a beautiful one; the leaves and shrubbery round the 
veranda moist and tremulous with the glittering freshness 
of morning dew. There was a murmur of tenderness and 
admiration as Nina, in a white morning- wrapper, and a 
cheek as white, came into the room. 

"Sit down, all my friends," she said, "sit down," look 
ing at some of the plantation men, who seemed to be diffi 
dent about taking the sofa, which was behind them; "it s 
no time for ceremony now. We are standing on the brink 
of the grave, Avhere all are equal. I m glad to see you so 


calm and so brave. I hope your trust is in the Saviour, 
who gives us the victory over death. Sing," she said. 
Milly hegan the well-known hymn : 

" And must this feeble body fail, 

And must it faint and die ? 
My soul shall quit this gloomy vale, 
And soar to realms on high ; 

" Shall join the disembodied saints, 

And find its long-sought rest; 
That only rest for which it pants, 
On the Redeemer s breast." 

Every voice joined, and the words rose triumphant from 
the very gates of the grave. When the singing was over, 
Nina, in a tremulous voice, which grew clearer as she went 
on, read the undaunted words of the ancient psalm : 

" He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High 
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say 
of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress. My God, 
in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the 
snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He 
shall cover thee with his feathers. Under his wings shalt 
thou trust. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by 
night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day, nor for the 
pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for the destruction 
that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall by thy 
side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not 
come nigh thee. He shall give his angels charge over 
thee to keep thee in all thy ways. 

"It is possible," said Nina, "that we may, some of us, 
be called away. But to those that love Christ, there is 
no fear in death. It is only going home to our Father. 
Keep up courage, then ! " 

In all cases like this, the first shock brings with it more 
terror than any which succeeds. The mind can become 
familiar with anything, even with the prospect of danger 
and death, so that it can appear to be an ordinary condi- 

464 DEED 

tion of existence. Everything proceeded calmly on the 
plantation; and all, stimulated by the example of their 
young mistress, seemed determined to meet the exigency 
firmly and faithfully. In the afternoon of the second day, 
as Nina was sitting in the door, she observed the wagon 
of Uncle Tiff making its way up the avenue; and with 
her usual impulsiveness, ran down to meet her humble 

" Oh, Tiff, how do you do, in these dreadful times ! " 

"Oh, Miss Nina," said the faithful creature, removing 
his hat, with habitual politeness, "ef yer please, I s 
brought de baby here, cause it s drefful sick, and I s 
been doing all I could for him, and he don t get no better. 
And I s brought Miss Fanny and Teddy, cause I s fraid 
to leave em, cause I see a man yesterday, and he tell me 
dey was dying eberywhar on all de places round." 

"Well," said Nina, "you have come to a sorrowful 
place, for they are dying here, too ! But if you feel any 
safer here, you and the children may stay, and we 11 do 
for you just as we do for each other. Give me the baby 
while you get out. It s asleep, is n t it? " 

"Yes, Miss Nina, it s sleep pretty much all de time, 

Nina carried it up the steps, and put it into the arms of 

"It s sleeping nicely," she said. 

"Ah, honey!" said Milly, "it ll neber wake up out of 
dat ar! Dat ar sleep ain t de good kind! " 

"Well," said Nina, "we 11 help him take care of it, and 
we 11 make room for him and the children, Milly; because 
we have medicines and directions, and they have nothing 
out there." 

So Tiff and his family took shelter in the general for 
tress. Towards evening the baby died. Tiff held it in 
his arms to the very last; and it was with difficulty that 


Nina and Milly could persuade him that the little flicker 
ing breath was gone forever. When forced to admit it, 
he seemed for a few moments perfectly inconsolable. Nina 
quietly opened her Testament, and read to him : 

"And they brought little children unto him, that he 
should touch them; and his disciples rebuked those that 
brought them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children to 
come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the 
kingdom of heaven." 

"Bressed Lord!" said Tiff, "I ll gib him up, I will! 
I won t hold out no longer! I won t forbid him to go, if 
it does break my old heart! Laws, we s drefful selfish! 
But de por little ting, he was getting so pretty ! " 

VOL. I. 



CLAYTON was quietly sitting in his law office, looking 
over and arranging some papers necessary to closing his 
business. A colored boy brought in letters from the mail. 
He looked them over rapidly; and selecting one, read it 
with great agitation and impatience. Immediately he 
started, with the open letter crushed in his hand, seized 
his hat, and rushed to the nearest livery stable. 

" Give me the fastest horse you have one that can 
travel night and day!" he said. "I must ride for life or 

And half an hour more saw Clayton in full speed on 
the road. By the slow, uncertain, and ill-managed mail 
route, it would have taken three days to reach Canema. 
Clayton hoped, by straining every nerve, to reach there in 
twenty-four hours. He pushed forward, keeping the ani 
mal at the top of his speed; and at the first stage-stand, 
changed him for a fresh one. And thus proceeding along, 
he found himself, at three o clock of the next morning, in 
the woods about fifteen miles from Canema. The strong 
tension of the nervous system, which had upheld him 
insensible to fatigue until this point, was beginning slightly 
to subside. All night he had ridden through the loneli 
ness of pine forests, with no eye looking down on him save 
the twinkling mysterious stars. At the last place where 
he had sought to obtain horses everything had been horror 
and confusion. Three were lying dead in the house, and 
another was dying. 


All along upon the route, at every stopping-place, the 
air had seemed to be filled with flying rumors and exag 
gerated reports of fear and death. As soon as he began to 
perceive that he was approaching the plantation he became 
sensible of that shuddering dread, which all of us may 
remember to have had, in slight degrees, in returning home 
after a long absence, under a vague expectation of misfor 
tune, to which the mind can set no definite limits. When 
it was yet scarcely light enough to see, he passed by the 
cottage of Old Tiff. A strange impulse prompted him to 
stop and make some inquiries there before he pushed on 
to the plantation. But as he rode up, he saw the gate 
standing ajar, the door of the house left open; and after 
repeated callings, receiving no answer, he alighted, and 
leading his horse behind him, looked into the door. The 
gloaming starlight was just sufficient to show him that all 
was desolate. Somehow this seemed to him like an evil 
omen. As he was mounting his horse, preparing to ride 
away, a grand and powerful voice rose from the obscurity 
of the woods before him, singing in a majestic, minor-keyed 
tune, these words : 

" Throned on a cloud our God shall come, 

Bright flames prepare his way ; 
Thunder and darkness, fire and storm, 
Lead on the dreadful day ! " 

Wearied with his night ride, his nervous system strained 
to the last point of tension by the fearful images which 
filled his mind, it is not surprising that these sounds 
should have thrilled through the hearer with even a super 
stitious power. And Clayton felt a singular excitement, 
as, under the dim arcade of the pine-trees, he saw a dark 
figure approaching. He seemed to be marching with a regu 
lar tread, keeping time to the mournful music which he sung. 

" Who are you ? " called Clayton, making an effort to 
recall his manhood. 

468 DEED 

" I ? " replied the figure, " I am the voice of one crying 
in the wilderness ! I am a sign unto this people of the 
judgment of the Lord ! " 

Our readers must remember the strange dimness of the 
hour, the wildness of the place and circumstances, and the 
singular quality of the tone in which the figure spoke. 
Clayton hesitated a moment, and the speaker went on: 
" I saw the Lord coming with ten thousand of his saints ! 
Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went 
forth at his feet ! Thy bow is made quite naked, God, 
according to the oaths of the tribes! I saw the tents of 
Cushan in affliction, and the curtains of the land of Midian 
did tremble ! " 

Pondering in his mind what this wild style of address 
might mean, Clayton rode slowly onward. And the man, 
for such he appeared to be, came out of the shadows of the 
wood and stood directly in his path, raising his hand with 
a commanding gesture. 

"I know whom you seek," he said; "but it shall not 
be given you; for the star, which is called wormwood, 
hath fallen, and the time of the dead is come, that they 
shall be judged ! Behold, there sitteth on the white cloud 
one like the Son of Man, having on his head a golden 
crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle ! " 

Then waving his hand above his head, with a gesture 
of wild excitement, he shouted: "Thrust in thy sharp 
sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for 
her grapes are fully ripe ! Behold, the winepress shall 
be trodden without the city, and there shall be blood even 
to the horses bridles ! Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants 
of the earth, because of the trumpets of the other angels, 
which are yet to sound ! " 

The fearful words pealed through the dim aisles of the 
forest like the curse of some destroying angel. After a 
pause, the speaker resumed, in a lower and more plaintive 


tone: "Weep ye not for the dead! neither bewail her! 
Behold, the Lamb standeth on Mount Zion, and with him 
a hundred and forty and four thousand, having his 
Father s name written on their foreheads. These are they 
which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth; and in 
their mouth is found no guile, for they are without fault 
before the throne of God. Behold the angel having the 
seal of God is gone forth, and she shall be sealed in her 
forehead unto the Lamb." 

The figure turned away slowly, singing, as he made his 
way through the forest, in the same weird and funereal 
accents; but this time the song was a wild, plaintive 
sound, like the tolling of a heavy bell : 

"Ding dong ! dead and gone! 

Farewell, father ! 
Bury me in Egypt s land, 

By my dear mother ! 
Ding, dong ! ding, dong ! 
Dead and gone ! " 

Clayton, as he slowly wound his way along the unfre 
quented path, felt a dim, brooding sense of mystery and 
terror creeping over him. The tones of the voice, and the 
wild style of the speaker, recalled the strange incident of 
the camp-meeting; and though he endeavored strenuously 
to reason with himself that probably some wild and excited 
fanatic, made still more frantic by the presence of death 
and destruction all around, was the author of these fearful 
denunciations, still he could not help a certain weight of 
fearful foreboding. 

This life may be truly called a haunted house, built as 
it is on the very confines of the land of darkness and the 
shadow of death. A thousand living fibres connect us 
with the unknown and unseen state; and the strongest 
hearts, which never stand still for any mortal terror, have 
sometimes hushed their very beating at a breath of a 
whisper from within the veil. Perhaps the most resolute 

470 DEED 

unbeliever in spiritual things has hours of which he would 
be ashamed to tell, when he, too, yields to the powers of 
those awful affinities which bind us to that unknown 

It is not surprising that Clayton, in spite of himself, 
should have felt like one mysteriously warned. It was 
a relief to him when the dusky dimness of the solemn 
dawn was pierced by long shafts of light from the ris 
ing sun, and the day broke gladsome and jubilant, as if 
sorrow, sighing, and death were a dream of the night. 
During the whole prevalence of this fearful curse, it was 
strange to witness the unaltered regularity, splendor, and 
beauty with which the movements of the natural world 
went on. Amid fears, and dying groans, and wailings, 
and sobs, and broken hearts, the sun rose and set in splen 
dor, the dews twinkled, and twilight folded her purple 
veil heavy with stars; birds sang, waters danced and 
warbled, flowers bloomed, and everything in nature was 
abundant, and festive, and joyous. 

When Clayton entered the boundaries of the plantation, 
he inquired eagerly of the first person he met for the 
health of its mistress. "Thank God, she is yet alive!" 
said he. "It was but a dream, after all! " 



THE mails in the State of North Carolina, like the pru 
dential arrangements of the slave states generally, were 
very little to be depended upon; and therefore a week had 
elapsed after the mailing of Nina s first letter, describing 
the danger of her condition, before it was received by 
Clayton. During that time the fury of the shock which 
had struck the plantation appeared to have abated; and 
while on some estates in the vicinity it was yet on the 
increase, the inhabitants of Canema began to hope that the 
awful cloud was departing from them. It was true that 
many were still ailing; but there were no new cases, and 
the disease in the case of those who were ill appeared to 
be yielding to nursing and remedies. 

Nina had risen in the morning early, as her custom had 
been since the sickness, and gone the rounds, to inquire 
for the health of her people. Returned, a little fatigued, 
she was sitting in the veranda, under the shadow of one 
of the pillar-roses, enjoying the cool freshness of the morn 
ing. Suddenly the tramp of horse s feet was heard, and 
looking, she saw Clayton coming up the avenue. There 
seemed but a dizzy, confused moment before his horse s 
bridle was thrown to the winds, and he was up the steps, 
holding her in his arms. 

"Oh, you are here yet, my rose, my bride, my lamb! 
God is merciful! This is too much! Oh, I thought you 
were gone ! " 

"No, dear, not yet," said Nina. "God has been with 

472 DEED 

us. We have lost a great many; but God has spared me 
to you." 

"Are you really well?" said Clayton, holding her off, 
and looking at her. " You look pale, my little rose ! " 

"That s not wonderful," said Nina; "I ve had a great 
deal to make me look pale; but I am very well. I have 
been well through it all never in better health and 
it seems strange to say it, but never happier. I have felt 
so peaceful, so sure of God s love! " 

"Do you know," said Clayton, "that that peace alarms 
me that strange, unearthly happiness ? It seems so like 
what is given to dying people." 

"No," said Nina, "I think that when we have no one 
but our Father to lean on, he comes nearer than he does 
any other time; and that is the secret of this happiness. 
But come, you look woefully tired ; have you been riding 
all night?" 

"Yes, ever since yesterday morning at nine o clock. I 
have ridden down four horses to get to you. Only think, 
I didn t get your letter till a week after it was dated! " 

"Well, perhaps that was the best," said Nina; "because 
I have heard them say that anybody coming suddenly and 
unprepared in the epidemic, when it is in full force, is 
almost sure to be taken by it immediately. But you must 
let me take care of you. Don t you know that I m mis 
tress of the fortress here commander-in-chief and head 
physician? I shall order you to your room immediately, 
and Milly shall bring you up some coffee, and then you 
must have some sleep. You can see with your eyes, now, 
that we are all safe, and there s nothing to hinder your 
resting. Come, let me lead you off, like a captive." 

Released from the pressure of overwhelming fear, Clay 
ton began now to feel the reaction of the bodily and mental 
straining which he had been enduring for the last twenty- 
four hours, and therefore he willingly yielded himself to 


the directions of his little sovereign. Retired to his room, 
after taking his coffee, which was served by Milly, he fell 
into a deep and tranquil sleep, which lasted till some time 
in the afternoon. At first, overcome by fatigue, he slept 
without dreaming; but when the first weariness was past, 
the excitement of the nervous system, under which he had 
been laboring, began to color his dreams with vague and 
tumultuous images. He thought that he was again with 
Nina at Magnolia Grove, and that the servants were pass 
ing around in procession, throwing flowers at their feet; 
but the wreath of orange-blossoms which fell in Nina s lap 
was tied with black crape. But she took it up, laughing, 
threw the crape away, and put the wreath on her head, 
and he heard the chorus singing : 

" Oh, de North Carolina rose ! 
Oh, de North Carolina rose ! " 

And then the sound seemed to change to one of lamenta 
tion, and the floral procession seemed to be a funeral, and 
a deep, melancholy voice, like the one he had heard in the 
woods in the morning, sang : 

" Weep, for the rose is withered ! 
The North Carolina rose ! " 

He struggled heavily in his sleep, and at last waking, 
sat up and looked about him. The rays of the evening 
sun were shining on the treetops of the distant avenue, 
and Nina was singing on the veranda below. He listened, 
and the sound floated up like a rose leaf carried on a 
breeze : 

" The summer hath its heavy cloud, 

The rose leaf must fall ; 
But in our land joy wears no shroud, 

Never doth it pall ! 

Each new morning ray 

Leaves no sigh for yesterday 

No smile passed away 

Would we recall ! " 

The tune was a favorite melody, which has found much 

474 DEED 

favor with the popular ear, and bore the title of "The 
Hindoo Dancing-Girl s Song;" and is, perhaps, a frag 
ment of one of those mystical songs in which Oriental lit 
erature abounds, in which the joy and reunion of earthly 
love are told in shadowy, symbolic resemblance to the 
everlasting union of the blessed above. It had a wild, 
dreamy, soothing power, as verse after verse came floating 
in, like white doves from paradise, as if they had borne 
healing on their wings : 

" Then haste to the happy land, 

Where sorrow is unknown; 
But first in a joyous band, 

I 11 make thee my own. 
Haste, haste, fly with me 
Where love s banquet waits for thee ; 
Thine all its sweets shall be, 

Thine, thine, alone ! " 

A low tap at his door at last aroused him. The door 
was partly opened, and a little hand threw in a half- 
opened spray of monthly rosebuds. 

"There s something to remind you that you are yet in 
the body! " said a voice in the entry. "If you are rested, 
I ll let you come down, now." And Clayton heard the 
light footsteps tripping down the stairs. He roused him 
self, and after some little attention to his toilet, appeared 
on the veranda. 

"Tea has been waiting for some time," said Nina. "I 
thought I d give you a hint." 

"I was lying very happy, hearing you sing," said Clay 
ton. "You may sing me that song again." 

"Was I singing 1 ? " said Nina; "why I didn t know it! 
I believe that s my way of thinking, sometimes. I 11 
sing to you again, after tea. I like to sing." 

After tea they were sitting again in the veranda, and 
the whole heavens were one rosy flush of filmy clouds. 

" How beautiful !" said Nina. "It seems to me I ve 


enjoyed these things, this summer, as I never have before. 
It seemed as if I felt an influence from them going through 
me, and filling me, as the light does those clouds." 

And as she stood looking up into the sky, she began 
singing again the words that Clayton had heard before: 

" I am come from the happy land, 

Where sorrow is unknown; 
I have parted a joyous band, 

To make thee mine own! 
Haste, haste, fly with me, 
Where love s banquet waits for thee; 
Thine all its sweets shall be, 

Thine, thine, alone ! 

" The summer hath its heavj cloud, 
The rose leaf must fall " 

She stopped her singing suddenly, left the veranda, and 
went into the house. 

"Do you want anything 1 " said Clayton. 

"Nothing," said she hurriedly. "I ll be back in a 
moment. " 

Clayton watched, and saw her go to a closet in which 
the medicines and cordials were kept, and take something 
from a glass. He gave a start of alarm. 

" You are not ill, are you 1 " he said fearfully, as she 

" Oh no ; only a little faint. We have become so pru 
dent, you know, that if we feel the least beginning of any 
disagreeable sensation we take something at once. I have 
felt this faintness quite often. It isn t much." 

Clayton put his arm around her, and looked at her with 
a vague yearning of fear and admiration. 

"You look so like a spirit," he said, "that I must hold 

"Do you think I ve got a pair of hidden wings? " she 
said, smiling, and looking gayly in his face. 

"I am afraid so!" he said. "Do you feel quite well, 
now 1 " 

476 DEED 

"Yes, I believe so. Only, perhaps, we had better sit 
down. I think, perhaps, it is the reaction of so much 
excitement makes me feel rather tired." 

Clayton seated her on the settee by the door, still keep 
ing his arm anxiously around her. In a few moments she 
drooped her head wearily on his shoulder. 

" You are ill ! " he said in tones of alarm. 

"No, no! I feel very well only a little faint and 
tired. It seems to me it is getting a little cold here, 
isn t it? " she said, with a slight shiver. 

Clayton took her up in his arms, without speaking, 
carried her in and laid her on the sofa, then rang for 
Harry and Milly. 

"Get a horse, instantly," he said to Harry, as soon as 
he appeared, " and go for a doctor ! " 

"There s no use in sending," said Nina; "he is driven 
to death, and can t come. Besides, there s nothing the 
matter with me, only I am a little tired and cold. Shut 
the doors and windows, and cover me up. No, no, don t 
take me upstairs! I like to lie here; just put a shawl 
over me, that s all. I am thirsty, give me some 
water ! " 

The fearful and mysterious disease, which was then in 
the ascendant, has many forms of approach and develop 
ment. One, and the most deadly, is that which takes 
place when a person has so long and gradually imbibed the 
fatal poison of an infected atmosphere that the resisting 
powers of nature have been insidiously and quietly subdued, 
so that the subject sinks under it, without any violent out 
ward symptom, by a quiet and certain yielding of the vital 
powers, such as has been likened to the bleeding to death 
by an internal wound. In this case, before an hour had 
passed, though none of the violent and distressing symp 
toms of the disease appeared, it became evident that the 
seal of death was set on that fair young brow. A mes- 


senger had been dispatched, riding with the desperate speed 
which love and fear can give, but Harry remained in at 

"Nothing is the matter with me nothing is the mat 
ter," she said, "except fatigue, and this change in the 
weather. If I only had more over me ! and, perhaps, you 
had better give me a little brandy, or some such thing. 
This is water, isn t it, that you have been giving me? " 

Alas! it was the strongest brandy; but there was no 
taste, and the hartshorn that they were holding had no 
smell. And there was no change in the weather; it was 
only the creeping deadness, affecting the whole outer and 
inner membrane of the system. Yet still her voice re 
mained clear, though her mind occasionally wandered. 

There is a strange impulse, which sometimes comes in 
the restlessness and distress of dissolving nature, to sing; 
and as she lay with her eyes closed, apparently in a sort 
of trance, she would sing, over and over again, the verse 
of the song which she was singing when the blow of the 
unseen destroyer first struck her : 

" The summer hath its heavy cloud, 

The rose leaf must fall ; 
But in our land joy wears no shroud, 
Never doth it pall." 

At last she opened her eyes, and seeing the agony of 
all around, the tr^uth seemed to come to her. "I think 
I m called!" she said. "Oh, I m so sorry for you all! 
Don t grieve so; my Father loves me so well, he cannot 
spare me any longer. He wants me to come to him. 
That s all don t grieve so. It s home I m going to 
home! Twill be only a little while, and you ll come 
too, all of you. You are satisfied, are you not, Edward ? " 

And again she relapsed into the dreamy trance, and 
sang, in that strange, sweet voice, so low, so weak : 

" In our land joy wears no shroud, 
Never doth it pall." 

478 DEED 

Clayton, what did he 1 What could he do ? What 
have any of us done, who have sat holding in our arms 
a dear form, from which the soul was passing the soul 
for which gladly we would have given our own in ex 
change! When we have felt it going with inconceivable 
rapidity from us; and we, ignorant and blind, vainly striv 
ing, with this and that, to arrest the inevitable doom, 
feeling every moment that some other thing might be done 
to save, which is not done, and that that which we are 
doing may be only hastening the course of the destroyer! 
Oh, those awful, agonized moments, when we watch the 
clock and no physician comes, and every stroke of the 
pendulum is like the approaching step of death! Oh, is 
there anything in heaven or earth for the despair of such 
hours 1 

Not a moment was lost by the three around that dying 
bed, chafing those cold limbs, administering the stimulants 
which the dead, exhausted system no longer felt. 

"She doesn t suffer! Thank God, at any rate, for 
that ! " said Clayton, as he knelt over her in anguish. 

A beautiful smile passed over her face as she opened 
her eyes and looked on them all, and said : 

"No, my poor friends, I don t suffer. I m come to 
the land where they never suffer. I m only so sorry for 
you! Edward," she said to him, "do you remember what 
you said to me once 1 It has come now. You must bear 
it like a man. God calls you to some work don t shrink 
from it. You are baptized with fire. It all lasts only a 
little while. It will be over soon, very soon! Edward, 
take care of my poor people. Tell Tom to be kind to 
them. My poor, faithful, good Harry! Oh! I m going 
so fast ! " 

The voice sank into a whispering sigh. Life now 
seemed to have retreated to the citadel of the brain. She 
lay apparently in the last sleep, when the footsteps of the 


doctor were heard on the veranda. There was a general 
spring to the door, and Dr. Butler entered, pale, haggard, 
and worn from constant exertion and loss of rest. He 
did not say in words that there was no hope, but his first 
dejected look said it but too plainly. 

She moved her head a little, like one who is asleep 
uneasily upon her pillow, opened her eyes once more, and 
said, " Good-by ! I will arise and go to my Father ! " 

The gentle breath gradually became fainter and fainter, 
all hope was over ! The night walked on with silent 
and solemn footsteps soft showers fell without, murmur 
ing upon the leaves within, all was still as death ! 

" They watched her breathing through the night, 

Her breathing soft and low, 
As in her breast the wave of life 
Kept heaving to and fro. 

" So silently they seemed to speak, 

So slowly moved about, 
As they had lent her half their powers 
To eke her living out. 

" Their very hopes belied their fears, 
Their fears their hopes belied 
They thought her dying when she slept, 
And sleeping when she died. 

" For when the morn came dim and sad, 

And chill with early showers, 
Her quiet eyelids closed she had 
Another morn than ours." 




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